Ben's Revolution: Benjamin Russell and the Battle of Bunker Hill

illus. by Wendell Minor. 64p. ebook available. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399166747.
Gr 2–5—Acclaimed historian Philbrick (Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War) has penned a Revolution-era history for kids adapted from his adult title Bunker Hill. This historical narrative follows Benjamin Russell, an adolescent in Boston at the dawn of the Revolution. Readers learn about the Boston Tea Party, Isaiah Thomas's radical publications, and the eruption of armed resistance to the British. Philbrick adds nuance to the tale through, for instance, Ben's mixed sentiments about the excitement of revolution and the kindness shown to him by a local British officer. From across the harbor, Ben watches the climactic battle of Bunker Hill, where the outmatched, outnumbered Patriots hold off multiple waves of British attacks before finally withdrawing. Ben is reunited with his family after the battle, and he soon joins Isaiah Thomas as a printer's apprentice. The full-color illustrations are full of bright hues, resulting in pleasing grassy fields, morning light flashing off harbor waters, and brilliantly clad Redcoats. Minor depicts the battlefield with motion and smoky haze, yet free of carnage. A convenient map displays the Boston locales referenced. Educators should note that invented dialogue has been added by the author to move the narrative along.
VERDICT A stirring account of the American Revolution, sure to resonate with elementary students.

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