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Road to Revolution! (The Cartoon Chronicles of America) Paperback – July 21, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–6—This first installment in the series takes place in Boston, 1775, in the days leading up to the American Revolution, where two children aid the Rebel cause. Nick helps Paul Revere alert the Rebels of the British advance, Penny foils the attack on Bunker Hill, and both of them encounter Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and George Washington. Endnotes sort the fictional events from facts, but readers unfamiliar with the history may be confused. The whimsical illustrations are drawn in shaky, cartoonish scrawls, printed in full color on glossy paper. One of the book's strengths lies in the inclusion of a strong female character, and the story often comments on the limited roles available to women at the time. The portrayal of the Tories and Rebels is not terribly nuanced, however. All of the Tories are bullish, unattractive louts, in contrast to the sensitive, handsome Rebels. This is an amusing piece of historical fiction with plenty of appeal to children, but it should be read by those with some background in history, or in conjunction with a more straightforward account.—Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Stan Mack has created documentary style comic strips (including Stan Mack's Real Life Funnies, which ran in the Village Voice for 20 years), graphic histories (including The Story of the Jews: A 4,000 Year Adventure), and children's picture books. Mack graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and is a former art director of The New York Times Magazine. www.stanmack.com

Susan Champlin is a freelance writer and editor who has written for PBS, PBS Kids, Discovery Communications, and National Geographic Kid, and has been on the staff of some of the biggest magazines in the country, including People and Bon Appétit.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Series: The Cartoon Chronicles of America
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; 1 edition (July 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599903717
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599903712
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,605,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
THE ROAD TO REVOLUTION! (THE CARTOON CHRONICLES OF AMERICA) is a wonderful comic book/graphic novel that gets kids engaged and interested in reading about the Revolutionary War.

It does this by introducing two fictional main characters that young readers can identify with, a street orphan named Nick and the daughter of a tavern owner named Penny, who become friends and mini-detectives as they spy on the British and pass info on to the secessionists who wanted independence from Britain.

The comic's panels are drawn with cute illustrations (although graphic at times showing injuries and death on the battle field), and uses simple language for kids to understand. In fact, I think THE ROAD TO... would be helpful for those studying or learning English, too.

An informative prologue is provided in the beginning that lists some of the important events (i.e. Boston Tea Party etc.) that led up to the Revolutionary War, again in very simple, succinct language.

The comic book's story is interesting and weaves the fictional characters into historical facts and people including the battle of Lexington and Concord--known for Paul Revere's famous ride--and the first major battle on Bunker Hill.

An epilogue is included at the end where each chapter is reviewed, separating fact from fiction.

I enjoyed the book but the story ends in 1776. I would have liked to see more adventures with Nick and Penny up to 1781 when the fighting actually stopped. But otherwise it's a fun read and you learn a little about history in the process.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I allowed my 5th grade son to read this first so that I could question him regarding the historical content of the book. I wanted to know if the facts would get lost in the cartoon approach. When I questioned him about certain facts that were new to me he backed them up by showing me the chapter notes in the "Epilogue".

The two historical figures that caught his attention were Dr. Joseph Warren and Dr. Benjamin Church. As a result of my questioning I realized that the book only gave the basic roles of both men. But we used the book as a jumping board and ultimately studied the lives of both men.

When I read the book myself I began to appreciate the way the conflicts & dilemmas facing the Bostonians (and colonists in general) were laid out. The cartoon format really lends itself to doing this in a quick & concise way. Thus the book is not meant to give extreme detail, but basic details that will spark interest in the Revolution & give a foundation upon which to build.

The humor "Road to Revolution" incorporate makes it perfect for boys, but girls will enjoy it also. My son was laughing aloud while reading the book. I didn't find it as humorous, but I am not in the target age group.

Notes to parents and teachers of younger children who may read the book:

* Nick is a pick-pocket and lives a rather rough life and Penny works serving drinks in her dad's tavern. At one point they find themselves in a wine cellar and Nick uncorks a bottle of Madeira and chugs down a bit. Notes in the back of the book explain that the water supply and even milk were not safe to drink, so even children drank alcohol.

*A "Teacher's Guide" is included in the back of the book.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a parent, I am always gratified when I can sneak a little nutrition in with my kids' diet. In the case of the Road To Revolution, the kids may think they found the reading equivalent of candy, but by the time they are done with this graphic novel they will have a lot of good stuff to digest.

Apart from the modern Americanisms spoken by the characters, the authors of this graphic novel have remained quite true to the times. Kids may think that they are just reading a comic, but they are also learning about the real people and events that occurred just after the Boston Massacre through the Battle of Bunker Hill. The story is effectively told frame by frame and the rendering of colonial Boston is spot on. They have paid close attention to both the subject matter and the surroundings, something that I greatly appreciated.

Anything that can get my kids to read and think about history deserves four stars. On the other hand, the art work and storyline in the Road To Revolution though serviceable, are not as stylized or engaging as other works in this genre. My 9-year-old and 13-year-old agreed to read the novel, but did ask whether this was supposed to be some kind of a text book for social studies. These kinds of books are most effective when the storyline crackles and characters really pop off the page. The Road To Revolution has a less engaging narrative and the art work is done in a traditional comic book format, rather than a more modern and creative graphic novel approach.

And this is not the first time that a graphic novel format has been used for more than just entertainment.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an adventure book centered around the American Revolution. Because the two fictional characters around whom the book is based include a boy and a girl, this book should grab the interest of both sexes in the 10-14 year old age group.

Not only does the reader learn about well-known people such as Sam Adams and Paul Revere and historical events such as the two lights in Old North Church and the British occupation of Boston, they will also learn about other children (non-fictional) who lived through this exciting period of U.S. history.

This is a fast-paced story written in comic book format that has Nick and Penny, the two fictional children, finding themselves wrapped up in a dangerous game of spying as the British prepare to fight the colonists. The danger the children find themselves in keeps the reader interested as the action moves from Concord and Lexington through the Battle of Bunker Hill (actually Breed's Hill).

Because the story revolves around the adventure of the two youngsters, I believe children will enjoy the story as they become involved in the risky situations Nick and Penny find themselves facing--whilst at the same time they will find themselves learning a bit of U.S. history.

The illustrations in the book are good but not great (but this may just be my interpretation of the style) but in any case, the illustrations add to the story, not detract from it. There is some humor spread through the story that increases the enjoyability of the adventure. Nick and Penny, though fictional, are believable. There is an "Epilogue" that points out what part of the story is fiction (mainly Nick and Penny) and what part is not. The story, through pro-colonist, does point out some views from both sides of the conflict.
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