History comes alive in this gripping account of a young boy caught up in the start of the Revolutionary War. Based on an episode in National Book Award–winning author Nathaniel Philbrick’s New York Times bestseller Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, this engrossing story allows readers to experience history from a child’s perspective, and Wendell Minor’s stunning paintings will transport readers back to the early days of the Revolutionary War.
Benjamin Russell is in school on the morning of April 19th, 1775, when his teacher announces, “The war’s begun, and you may run!” Ben knew this day was coming; after all, tensions had been mounting between the colonists and the British troops ever since the Boston Tea Party. And now they have finally reached the breaking point. Ben and his friends excitedly rush out of their classroom to bear witness, and follow the throngs of redcoats marching out of Boston toward Concord. Much to Ben’s surprise, Boston is sealed off later that day—leaving the boys stuck outside the city, in the middle of a war, with no way to reach their families. But Ben isn’t worried—he’s eager to help the Patriots! He soon becomes a clerk to the jovial Israel Putnam, a general in the provincial army. For months he watches the militia grow into an organized army, and when the Battle of Bunker Hill erupts, Ben is awed by the bravery of the Patriots, although saddened by the toll war takes. He later goes on to become an apprentice at a Revolutionary newspaper, and it’s a happy day when they get to report on the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Praise for Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution
“Philbrick guides us beautifully through Revolutionary Boston, with the Battle of Bunker Hill as his story’s grand climax.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Masterly narrative . . . Philbrick tells the complex story superbly . . . gripping book.”—The Wall Street Journal
“A masterpiece of narrative and perspective. . . . This is not only . . . the greatest American story. It is also the American story.”—The Boston Globe
“You will delight in the story and the multitude of details Philbrick offers up.”—USA Today
Philbrick draws on an episode recounted in his 2013 adult work, Bunker Hill, focusing on 13-year-old Benjamin Russell during the 1775 battle. In one-to-two page chapters, interspersed with Minor s luxuriant gouache and watercolor illustrations, Philbrick skillfully summarizes the events leading up to that encounter including the Boston Tea Party and ensuing British occupation of Boston and effectively contrasts printer Isaiah Thomas s patriotic fervor with Ben s boyish preoccupations. Ben and his schoolmates excitedly follow British soldiers to Lexington and Concord but find themselves trapped outside Boston after the British seal off access to the city. For more than two months, separated from his family, Ben delivered food for General Israel Putnam s wing of the nascent provincial army. Philbrick recreates the tension of the hard-fought Battle of Bunker Hill, as seen through Ben s eyes, and provides a satisfying reunion with his family. The concluding chapters of this succinct, dramatic narrative tell of Ben s work as an apprentice to Isaiah in Worcester, where he discovered his future profession as a newspaper publisher. Ages 7 9. Author s agent: Stuart Krichevsky, Stuart Krichevsky Literary.