William Tuck is a young teen who watches helplessly as his older brother, a soldier in the Revolutionary War, is cut down by a firing squad. In his anger and desire for payback, he runs away to join the Revolutionary Army as a drummer boy and work his way up to fighter. After his first battle, a dying soldier gives him a watch and sends him on a mission that will take him straight to George Washington’s side – and make him a target for the British army.
I enjoyed this book. I’ve been a Revolutionary War buff since I was a kid, and there just aren’t many good middle grade fiction pieces about this era in history, with a younger character at the forefront. We’ve got the classics, My Brother Sam is Dead and Johnny Tremain, and another one of my favorites, Phoebe the Spy, but there hasn’t been much recently.
This should please the Common Core diehards out there – there is a lot of history packed into this book, with actual historical figures getting page time, including Peter Francisco, the Virginia Giant, who is brought to four-color, 3-D life here. Mr. Pierpont has put a lot of research into this book, make no mistake, but he also gives each character a vibrant personality to appeal to readers.
We’ve got an interesting female supporting lead character, a stint on one of the infamous prison ships, and a tremendous battle at Yorktown wrapped around a mission that has more layers to it than poor William ever counted on. Add this to your shelves, consider enhancing your social studies/American history unit by assigning it.
Sourcebooks has a great section for librarians and educators on their website, separated by imprint. Keep your eye on the Jabberwocky space for additional materials on William Tuck.