From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4–Cheney chronicles the general's courageous leadership in the Battles of Trenton and Princeton, including his famed crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas 1776. The story is clearly told, although the organization falls apart slightly in the second half. Primary quotes decorate each page, adding visual interest but occasionally disrupting the flow of the narrative. Done in oil paints on canvas, the large, dramatic illustrations create a sweeping feel that captures the mood of the text. While the picture-book format necessitates some simplification of the events, the account is accurate and interesting. A source page cites only the quotes used, and not the information presented, and the book's preface includes the recommendation that grandparents share this book with their grandchildren at Christmastime, which needlessly excludes those "young patriots" who do not celebrate Christmas. This title is more straightforward, but less comprehensive, than Louise Peacock's Crossing the Delaware: A History in Many Voices
(Atheneum, 1998). Cheney's offering makes an adequate supplement to history collections, and will appeal to families wishing to read inspirational picture books about America's past.–Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR
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Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. Cheney delivers a stirring account of this pivotal event in the Revolutionary War, from Washington's Christmas crossing to the Battle of Trenton and the ensuing Battle of Princeton. Framing her narrative with very brief quotes from eyewitnesses, she describes how the retreating, ragtag Continental Army, first bucked up by Tom Paine's rhetoric, then inspired by Washington's example and leadership, turned to defeat "the greatest military power in the world" twice in nine days, thus allowing the Patriots to "imagine that their great struggle would have a glorious end." Fiore's carefully detailed, full-page oils capture the chill of that night on the icy river, as well as the heroism of the American troops (African Americans among them) as they march, gravely celebrate their victory over the Hessians, and, finally, pursue fleeing Redcoats. Young readers or listeners can't help but come away with a clearer understanding of the event's significance, as well as a greater appreciation for Washington's heroism. Source notes are included. John PetersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved