Customer Reviews: Sam the Minuteman (I Can Read Level 3)
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on March 13, 1999
Although the reading level with this title says "baby-preschool," this book is really better suited for slightly older children (4-8)--although our 3-year old loves this one as a bedtime story! The story follows a boy (Sam) and his father in rural Massachussetts the day the British marched on Lexington and Concord. Sam and his father take up their arms and join the other Minutemen to resist the British incursion. For Sam it is long and tiring day. The story is a quick read with well-drawn pictures. I was quite happy to find this title. It was one of my favorites when I was a child and I credit it with starting for me a life-long love of history, especially American history. I'm hoping it might do the same for our child as well.
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on April 29, 2003
My kids loved this book. This book can be read by any reading level, because of its historical perspective. It appears to most adequately suit 1st graders. With my older children I used it as a tool, along with George the Drummer Boy, to teach perspective in writing and history. These two books in combination do an excellent job. Sam the Minuteman is told from the perspective of an American boy. George the Drummer Boy is told from a British boy's perspective. This book has 61 pages, about 1/4 of the pages are full page illustrations. Both books portray the same event in history - the beginning of the American Revolution.
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In plain language, and with just a bit of humor, prolific author Nathaniel Benchley (son of the great humorist Robert) and the equally experienced Arnold Lobel tell the story of the beginnings of the American Revolution, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. On the night of Paul Revere's famous ride, Sam accompanies his father to the village green. The pensive faces of the Minutemen and the monochrome and two-toned drawings of Lobel build tension as they await the possible arrival of the British. Finally, they hear the "TRAMP TRAMP TRAMP" of the British soldiers-the "lobsterbacks": "Over the hill and past the tavern came the soldiers! They came on and on and on." At close range, the British kill eight men (they're shown lying on the ground), and wound Sam's friend John in the leg. "'Sam!' John cried. `I'm hit.' John held his leg and fell down."

Soon after, the British attack again. Sam joins his father, despite his mother's loud protest. This time the Minutemen shoot back from behind trees and rocks. Benchley's dramatic narrative continues: "No one knew it then, but that day was the start of the American Revolution." Lobel shows the Minutemen's strain, the families' agony, and the fatigue of Sam and others.

Although a simply told story intended for young readers, Benchley and Lobel convey some of the key elements that went into the eventual American victory. Perhaps a little violent for the younger audiences, this is a realistic story with the look and feeling of an archetypal children's book.
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on August 30, 2001
"Sam the Minuteman" sparked my son's interest so much that the entire family is now infected with Revolution fever. As a direct result of reading the book, we've trekked to Lexington to see the actual places where the book's events take place, and from there to Boston, where the events in the companion book "George the Drummer Boy" took place. The revolution is spreading to the neighborhood as well, where my son is trying to convince his friends that Sam is cooler than Darth Maul
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 18, 2001
This early reader features Sam, a boy who joins his father as a Minuteman, and takes place in Concord and Lexington on the day the American Revolution begins. At 62 pages, with simple vocabulary, this book does a nice job of capturing the uncertainty and excitement of these events for a young person, and would be a good selection for a young reader interested in history. The companion volume by the same author, 'George the Drummer Boy', tells the story of a boy on the side of the loyalists on the same day. Simple but nice illustrations.
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on October 5, 2000
It is a good book because it tells about the Revolutionary War. We learned things about a long time ago. The sad part is when John was shot. He said, "I'm shot!" and they took him home and put bandages on him. He was afraid. He was fighting for freedom.
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on November 11, 2002
I have a 5-year-old son named Sam. I read him this book for many days--day after day after day. He even slept with the book. So obviously, I believe this is a good book for kids! I had to give it a high rating--he never slept with any other book. The book, I believe, is rated at about a 3rd grade reading level. It involves guns and redcoats and things that interest young folks.
Anyway, the book is about the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Sam's father takes him along when the British come to Lexington. At the battle, one of Sam's friends gets shot in the leg, so children know that war is not all fun and games, and carrying a gun involves responsibility. The author also says things like the British soldiers burned some houses, but "their heart wasn't in it." This leads to good questions about why that was so. The author follows the British as they make a run for it as the "farmers" shoot at them the whole way back. And when Sam gets home, his worry is about his friend who was shot. Nifty drawings, good length, history--this is a very good book for the age group.
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on May 26, 2015
This is a great early reader (1st-2nd grade) book for beginning to introduce the Revolutionary War to young students. My son really enjoyed the book. One caution: Sam's friend is shot during battle. It opened the door for a good discussion for us but, it might be something to think about depending on the child's sensitivity.
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on October 11, 2000
We read Sam the Minutemen in class and we thought it was a good book.It is a good book because it talks about the Revolutionary War, and we talked about Revolutionary War stuff in class. During the Revolutionary War Sam's friend got shot by the Lobsterbacks. Sam was fighting so he could save his countrymen, and fighting for freeom.
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on August 14, 2013
I really enjoyed this book.. It is easy reading for a young child, and the lesson of the story is so important. This is how America was started, and what it took to make it happen.. This is the beginning of America's independence.
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