Ben’s Revolution: Benjamin Russell and the Battle of Bunker Hill

Nathaniel Philbrick, illus. by Wendell Minor. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (64p) ISBN 978-0-399-16674-7
Philbrick draws on an episode recounted in his 2013 adult work, Bunker Hill, focusing on 13-year-old Benjamin Russell during the 1775 battle. In one-to-two page chapters, interspersed with Minor’s luxuriant gouache and watercolor illustrations, Philbrick skillfully summarizes the events leading up to that encounter—including the Boston Tea Party and ensuing British occupation of Boston—and effectively contrasts printer Isaiah Thomas’s patriotic fervor with Ben’s boyish preoccupations. Ben and his schoolmates excitedly follow British soldiers to Lexington and Concord but find themselves trapped outside Boston after the British seal off access to the city. For more than two months, separated from his family, Ben delivered food for General Israel Putnam’s wing of the nascent provincial army. Philbrick recreates the tension of the hard-fought Battle of Bunker Hill, as seen through Ben’s eyes, and provides a satisfying reunion with his family. The concluding chapters of this succinct, dramatic narrative tell of Ben’s work as an apprentice to Isaiah in Worcester, where he discovered his future profession as a newspaper publisher. Ages 7–9. Author’s agent: Stuart Krichevsky, Stuart Krichevsky Literary. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/20/2017
Release date: 05/23/2017
Genre: Children's
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