Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak
Winters, Kay. 2008. COLONIAL VOICES: HEAR THEM SPEAK. Ill. by Larry Day. New York: Penguin. ISBN 978052547820 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-8]
This handsome picture book lets readers hear what might have been said by thirteen residents of Boston in the hours leading up to the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Characters include an errand boy, printer, baker, school mistress, shoemaker, milliner, basket trader, tavern keeper, midwife, barber, blacksmith, clockmaker and a silversmith’s apprentice. Each character’s place in colonial culture and their evolving attitudes about British rule and the potential for American independence is revealed in a first-person account and in the author’s historical notes. Over-sized ink and watercolor images provide a sepia toned glimpse of colonial life: in a barbershop, men gather to talk as a customer gets a shave, wigs line the shelves, and a small boy closely inspects a bottle of leeches. Suspense builds as errand boy Ethan delivers notices about a meeting of the Sons of Liberty to each of the featured Bostonians and climaxes with Patriots tossing tea into the harbor and everyone wondering “What will happen now?” Endpapers feature a map and schedule of Ethan’s route. Young scholars will appreciate the substantial reading list and glossary.
Discuss the significance of perspective, in history and in our everyday lives. After reviewing roles played by the book’s thirteen characters, let children take turns making up riddles and guessing the answers: I keep folks informed and publish the paper. Who am I? Answer: The Printer.
Other picture books focusing on the American Revolution:
Anderson, Laurie Halse. INDEPENDENT DAMES. ISBN 9780689858086
Brown, Don. LET IT BEGIN HERE: APRIL 19, 1775, THE DAY THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION BEGAN. ISBN 9781596432215
Schanzer, Rosalyn. GEORGE VS. GEORGE: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AS SEEN FROM BOTH SIDES. ISBN 9780792269991
By Suzy Parchman