cover image  Yankee Doodle America: The Spirit of 1776 from A to Z

Yankee Doodle America: The Spirit of 1776 from A to Z

Wendell Minor, . . Putnam, $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24003-4

In his introduction to this inventive look at Revolutionary America, Minor (Reaching for the Moon ) explains the importance of public houses—marked by graphically striking wooden signs. Colonists would gather in these small roadside inns and taverns to share news of the patriots' efforts and of the war's progress. Inviting readers to "follow the signs along a colonial road during the years 1765 to 1783," Minor presents an alphabetically arranged series of handsome, period oil paintings on wood, shaped like the public house signs, which spotlight people, events and places pivotal to the creation of the nation. Accompanying the signs, he offers succinct nuggets of information about influential individuals (e.g., Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, Henry Knox, Molly Pitcher, George Washington), key sites (Independence Hall, Old North Church), vital symbols (the Liberty Bell, the Stars and Stripes) and locations of crucial events in the war (Trenton, Valley Forge, Yorktown). Minor cleverly incorporates into his meticulously crafted renderings several relevant references to taverns, noting that Paul Revere and the Sons of Liberty met to plot against George III at the Green Dragon tavern in Boston, Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence at Philadelphia's Indian Queen tavern, and Washington delivered his farewell speech to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York. Though the volume's A to Z format requires a sequence that is not necessarily chronological, a concise timeline of significant dates sets the contents of this creative compendium in the proper context. All ages. (Apr.)