From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 3–6—Colonial Bostonians introduce themselves through free-verse vignettes that describe their work and their feelings about the current political situation. As errand boy Ethan moves about the city, he links the people together. From the printer, who distributes the news of a gathering to be held, to the baker, the school mistress, the shoemaker, the milliner, and so on, he covers a territory that ends up at the Old South Meeting House. There, the Sons of Liberty decide to protest the governor's decision regarding some shipments of British tea. Winters's poems flow well, but they employ somewhat complex vocabulary and syntax. A glossary is included to help children with terms such as "fripperies," "journeyman," "limner," "hackle," and "wag-on-the-wall." Historical notes go into more detail about each person's job and compare similar positions in the northern and southern colonies. Both men and women are portrayed; while most characters are white, a Native American woman and a male African slave are also featured. The political sentiments described include Patriots, Loyalists, and some in-between. The watercolor and ink illustrations add humor and drama through shifting perspectives and well-detailed settings full of period details. Ethan appears in each picture, and children will enjoy following his route and sharing his reactions to the varied scenes he observes. A unique presentation for all libraries.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
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*Starred Review* Winters, who so successfully captured the common folk in Voices of Egypt (2005), offers an even more layered and textured group of voices here. It’s December 16, 1773, and “Boston is about to explode.” The immediacy of the words draws readers in, as Ethan, an errand boy to the printer, sets off with papers to deliver to the patriots in the area. So begins a glorious introduction to the Boston Tea Party, and so much more. Each handsome two-page spread brings forth another voice from the time as Ethan delivers his message. There’s the printer, whose presses tell of British subjugation; the baker and the shoemaker, who are secret patriots; the milliner, who says, “Pay the tax! Count your blessings. I prefer the King to a rabble-rousing mob!” The tavern keeper, the blacksmith’s slave, the Native American basket maker, and others also have their say, until the patriots gather at the harbor and “speak out for liberty.” Winter’s strong, moving text is supported by a thoughtful design that incorporates the look of historical papers, and rich paintings capture the individuals and their circumstances as well as what’s at stake. The back matter, offering additional information on the tea party and on each speaker’s profession, makes this even more useful. This does for colonial times what the 2008 Newbery Medal book, Good Masters, Sweet Ladies, does for the Middle Ages. Grades 4-7. --Ilene Cooper