Thursday, May 27, 2004

Paul Revere's Ride: The Landlord's Tale

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. 2003. PAUL REVERE’S RIDE: THE LANDLORD’S TALE. Ill. by Charles Santore. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0066237475 [Suggested Grade Levels 2 - 8]

Longfellow’s famous poem of the New England colonist’s struggle for independence from Britain is retold on a cold, dark evening to a group of early 19th century gentlemen listening. Sitting around a fire in a dimly lit parlor three younger men listen attentively as an older gentleman recalls the tale. There they are whisked away into the magic of Revere’s midnight adventure. The story explodes with excitement as Paul sees the lanterns hung in the church steeple across the bay indicating that the British are indeed going to attack. Like a bolt of lightning he dashes off on his valiant steed shouting the alarm to the people of every village and town in Middlesex. Ominous illustrations set in subdued tones of blue and green lend urgency to the words of the poem as Paul rides feverishly through the blackness of the night sounding the alarm.

These stunning illustrations by Charles Santore breathe new life into this famous American poem. Especially captivating is Santore’s depiction of the expression on Paul Revere’s face as the poem hums, “Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride, Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride, On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.” Santore also fabulously illustrates Revere’s crossing of the bridge at Concord where he wonders as he rides, “Who at the bridge would be first to fall?” The combination of Charles Santore’s anxious and forward moving art work and the words of the classic poem of Paul Revere’s Ride create a masterpiece of children’s imagination making the story virtually come alive to its readers. The power of the poem resonates today just as it did over a century ago. Children and adults alike will be swept away by the suspense and beauty of this refurbished timeless classic.

Lead a discussion about rhyme schemes and give the students an opportunity to write their own poetry in a similar form. Use the book to introduce children to the joys of poetry.

This book is also an excellent source for encouraging further reading on the Revolutionary War. It can be used to encourage an interest in history by having students write their own stories of what it would be like to be a character in the poem.

Other helpful informational texts about important people and events in history:
Chandra, Deborah. George Washington’s Teeth. ISBN 0374325340
Turner, Ann. ABE LINCOLN REMEMBERS. ISBN 0060275774

By Kristi Mays

No comments: