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Boys of Wartime: Daniel at the Siege of Boston, 1776 Paperback – March 17, 2011
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Because his parents run the Boston tavern where British officers are staying, 12-year-old Daniel must be careful not to divulge his family’s allegiance to the Sons of Liberty. His father joins the New England army, leaving Daniel to help at the tavern and gather what information he can. Early in the story, Daniel is too frightened to cross the British in any way, but he slowly becomes more resolute and determined, and in the end, he risks his life to reveal a traitor to General Washington. Set in 1776, this historical novel weaves actual people, places, and events of the Siege of Boston into an engaging fictional narrative. Back matter includes a historical note, a time line, a glossary, a list of historical characters, and a bibliography of recommended reading. A good beginning for the Boys of Wartime series. Grades 4-7. --Carolyn Phelan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
-A good beginning for the Boys of Wartime series.+ -Booklist
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Top Customer Reviews
Even after the siege on Boston started in April 1775 and Daniel's father left town to join the militia, Daniel was still careful to hide his true loyalties from the British soldiers. Not only did the family tavern depend on their business and the supplies they brought in, but Daniel had an important secret he could not afford to expose. He was serving as a young spy for General Washington, and the information he carried could play a pivotal role in the success of the Patriots' attempt to defeat the British.
With its focus on the eleven-month siege of Boston, this book constitutes a useful resource for teaching children about the economics of conflict and the shortages that result during war. With the American militia surrounding Boston by land, the British soldiers and remaining residents were trapped inside Boston with only the occasional ship from Britain to bring in food and basic supplies. Told from a child's vantage point, the story is sure to resonate with young readers who otherwise may have little concept of what life could be like when virtually all movement to and from a city is blocked.
As an author of middle school novels about youths in the Revolutionary War, I am always interested to check out my competition. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Daniel at the Siege of Boston was not only a good read, but also very accurate. Gary Paulsen and other novelists who write about different time periods make mistakes because they don't specialize in a single time period; Ms. Calkhoven apparently has done her research.
I especially was pleased that one of her early chapters explained that the Patriots, in 1775, were not interested in independence; this is an important point that many authors overlook or perhaps are not aware of.
The chapters on the battle of Bunker Hill were accurate, except for mention of a British ship in the Mystic River. The ship actually did not get that close, because the admiral was remiss in not taking depth soundings beforehand, and therefore refused the general's request to move a ship into such a position to send flanking fire against the Patriots who were on that side of the hill. Otherwise, we would not have been able to stand our ground so long at the rail fence, below the fort.
The book also has some good appendix material at the end. Some illustrations would have helped, though.
I am going to add this book to my list of Recommended Revolutionary War Novels for Grades 5-8, a handout that I give to teachers when I do my school presentation. I also recommend The Fifth of March, by Ann Rinaldi. For teachers/parents looking for a middle school novel about war that is not too graphic/violent, this is a good one. For readers capable of handling stories that focus in more detail on the reality of being a soldier in the Revolutionary War, I recommend they look up my books on Amazon, Patriots and Gone to Meet the British. - Gregory Edgar
My second grade son and I alternated chapters read this book. It was a bit challenging for him, but he was captivated enough to continue throughout the entire book (perfect!). I also enjoyed it. The story line is action filled for a child, but believable. The importance of personal character and a sense beyond one's self are the overriding lessons that Daniel portrays. In this aspect, it reminded me of a male-oriented "Little House" with all of its redeeming characteristics.
My son and I await the next in the series.