Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution

Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution

"And  now he's rollin' down the mountain
Going  fast, fast, fast
And  if he blows it
This  one's gonna be his last"
--  John Dawson, "Henry" (about a different Henry who also had everyone
counting on  his succeeding in a perilous, high-stakes trip)
"It  was the winter of 1775. The American Revolution had begun, and things
weren't  going well for the Patriots of Boston, Massachusetts."
I  just love this guy, Don Brown! I've been reading his nonfiction picture
books --  including lots of picture book biographies -- for twenty years
now. There is  something special and extraordinary about a guy who can do great
research, write  a cohesive and entertaining piece of nonfiction for young
people, AND  simultaneously create really engaging illustrations with a
style all his own for  the story he's written. Don Brown succeeds in doing these
things over and over.  And beginning with the first picture book of his
that I read -- the one about  aviatrix Ruth Law -- he's often crafted books
about people who were not featured  in the history texts that I studied as a
young person.
As  is the case with a number of Don Brown's nonfiction picture books,
HENRY AND THE  CANNONS is another one that is just perfect for fifth graders
studying American  history. It's about determination and resourcefulness and
adventure as part of a  real game-changing episode in the American Revolution.
And it's all orchestrated  by a seemingly unlikely hero.
Don  Brown sets the stage:
"Washington  ached for cannons. With them, he could rain cannonballs on the
British soldiers'  heads and drive them from Boston.
"But  Washington had none.
"At  Fort Ticonderoga, New York, there were many cannons. In May, Colonel
Benedict  Arnold had snatched the big guns, as well as the fort, from the
British. But 300  miles of lakes and rivers, hills and glades, and mountain
forests separated  Boston from Fort Ticonderoga.
"Dragging  the cannons the whole, hard way in winter was impossible.
"Wasn't  it?
"Henry  Knox said he could do it.
"Knox  was a Boston bookseller who'd taught himself soldiering from some of
the very  books he sold. In spite of a plump shape that suggested a man who
preferred a  good meal to a good fight, he was an eager Patriot who was
sure he could bring  the cannons to Boston."
The  journey upon which Knox and others set out ends with fifty-nine
cannons weighing  a combined total of 120,000 pounds being delivered to Washington
who then drives  the British from their Boston stronghold.
But  how did Knox accomplish this? THAT is what this story is all about --
the  exciting details of the ridiculously difficult, dangerous, freezing,
and  ultimately successful undertaking in which Henry Knox moves the cannons
300  miles.  You’ll be shivering in  summertime just thinking about what
happens along the way.
HENRY  AND THE CANNONS is another one of those amazing history tales that's
as good as  fiction...only better.  32 pages 978-1-59643-266-6

Richie  Partington, MLIS, Librarian, California USA
To see more of his recommendations:  Richie's Picks _http://richiespicks.com_ (http://richiespicks.com/)

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