Book review: Ben’s Revolution: Benjamin Russell and the Battle of Bunker Hill, by Nathaniel Philbrick, illustated by Wendell Minor

Philbrick, Nathaniel. Ben’s Revolution: Benjamin Russell and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Il. by Wendell Minor. Nancy Paulsen/Penguin, 2017. $17.99. unp. ISBN 978-0-399-16674-7. Ages 7-11. P7Q9

The Battle of Bunker Hill, recounted in the author’s 2013 adult book about the 1775 British versus America encounter is the focus of this story of a 12-year-old boy who goes with his classmates to follow British troops toward Concord. His home in Boston is sealed off, and he becomes a clerk to the Revolutionary general Israel Putnam and watches the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Verdict: The narrative uses the myth that the Revolutionaries were protesting taxes instead of the opposition to the monopoly of the British East India Company, but the text is generally accurate and the story of Ben Russell entertaining, especially because the book is based on an actual person. Beautiful gouache and watercolor illustrations add to the depiction of the events, including the Boston Tea Party and the battles of Bunker Hill and Breed’s Hill in Charlestown. An excellent adaptation from an adult book to introduce young readers to an engaging person.

Summer 2017 review by Nel Ward.

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