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Crossing The Delaware: A History In Many Voices Hardcover – October 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This picture-book presentation spells out events leading up to the decisive battle in the American Revolution. In this first book for Peacock, the account emerges through several perspectives: on the left of each spread, a present-day narrator traces Washington's footsteps from the House of Decisions on the bank of the Delaware River to the battle site on the opposite shore in Trenton, N.J.; on the right, a fictional enlisted soldier, Henry, writes letters to his sweetheart, alongside excerpts from letters written by actual enlisted men and leaders. Occasionally, the rigid design trips up the flow (as when Henry's letters home continue onto the next spread), but the mix of viewpoints offers a well-balanced view of each new development. The authentic historic voices deliver the most impact, but the other narrative streams place them in context. With smooth pacing, Peacock clearly depicts the odds stacked against the ill-clad and ill-equipped American farmers who came up against the well-outfitted Hessian mercenaries. Krudop (Black Whiteness) adheres to a wintry palette of blues, grays and browns in his full-page and vignette oil paintings, effectively capturing the broken spirit of the men and Washington's lonely leadership. One especially dramatic illustration shows the general standing guard on the bank of the Delaware in the snow and sleet to ensure the safety of each crossing vessel. An afterword placing the events described here in relation to the end of the Revolution would have been helpful; period black-and-white engravings and lithographs round out this animated approach to a crucial moment in American history. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7-Washington's daring crossing of the Delaware is depicted in three different ways in this intriguing book. A present-day narrator describes the events as he tours the house that served as the general's headquarters and imagines what Washington and his men must have been feeling. A series of letters from a fictional soldier to his sweetheart show some of his fears and worries, couched in words of encouragement and hope. Quotes from soldiers, officers, and from Washington himself reaffirm the events and feelings expressed in the narration and in the letters. The illustrations, too, offer different perspectives; Krudop's atmospheric oil paintings are accompanied by historical reproductions. The careful layout makes it easy to recognize the different parts of the text, with the narrative set in yellow boxes, the fictional letters in cursive script, and the quotes in bold type with sources noted below. The shifts in voice work effectively, creating an unusually personal look at a historical event. The varied perspectives focus on the initial hopelessness of the men in Washington's army. It becomes clear that the general had to do something daring to rekindle their spirit, and the excitement and fear of the river crossing and the Battle of Trenton come through vividly. The real triumph in the story is not the defeat of the Hessians, but in the unexpected reenlistment of so many soldiers that follows, marking the beginning of optimism for the Revolutionary Army.
Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689809948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689809941
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 8.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,407,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Louise Peacock's first book is a tribute to her excellent work as a historian. Although written for children 9-12, it is a book that that will appeal to all ages. She has a rare talent for writing a simple story that evokes the reader to find depth and insight. Her unique approach of blending three story lines allows the reader to experience the Battle of Trenton from a wide range of perspectives. Truly a work of art, this book comes highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lots of primary resources, mostly letters, telling the story of the Crossing of the Delaware. My students get a real feel of what it was like that Christmas night.
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Format: Hardcover
This beautifully illustrated book is a great history teacher. I highly recommend it to everyone.
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