Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Revolutionary War on Wednesday"

Title: Magic Tree House #22: Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrator: Sal Murdocca
Publisher: Random House, 2000
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Age Range: 2-3

Summary: Jack and Annie are taken back to colonial times, during the Revolutionary War. They arrive during a great snow storm on Christmas Eve. They come upon a camp of soldiers, and they tell the children they need to go home. One of the soldiers asks the children if they can take a letter home to their family, if the attack goes wrong. This letter is the piece they need to help Morgan; it is the something to send. They follow the men, and are lead to many boats awaiting to cross a great river, the Delaware River. A man is debating on whether or not to continue the mission because the weather is terrible. This man is George Washington. Jack and Annie cross the river with the first group of men, and George Washington is not happy they followed. They tell him that he must press on because this attack will be successful. The children go back across, and Washington does lead his troops. Jack and Annie are able to help Morgan and George Washington.

Response: Jack and Annie once again save the day! They are able to travel back into the early period of American history, the Revolutionary War. The night they arrive is Christmas Eve; the night that Washington and his troops cross the Delaware in one of the most unexpected attacks of the war. It really was a turning point that gave the Patriots a great momentum swing that helped them to eventually win the war. Jack and Annie are able to learn about the war, as well as the hardships. They learn about how difficult it is for families to be separated during the holidays, and that the men are not always in the best of spirits about fighting. The weather during this time was horrendous. It was a great blizzard, and Washington debates on whether or not they should continue. Jack teaches a great lesson when he talks to Washington. He says, "Even if things look impossible, you should keep going, sir...The harder things seem, the greater the triumph, right?" (p.59) He helps to reiterate the words of Thomas Paine, that George Washington quoted to his troops to keep them motivated. Paine's words said, "The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph...What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only that gives everything its value." (p.30) This book gives great information about the Revolutionary War. The facts are printed in bold print, so the reader can see that they are important historical facts. It talks about Red Coats and Patriots. The facts about George Washington, and his great cross of the Delaware River. In the back of the book there is more information about the War and Thomas Paine. This story provides students with a simple look into one important event that helped America become an independent country.

Teaching Ideas: The Magic Tree House website has a great section about the book. It provides students an opportunity to search the site, and other links, to learn more about the Revolutionary War. Revolutionary War
There is a research guide that goes along with the Magic Tree House story. It gives more information about the Revolutionary War.

Another activity would be for students to write their own story of meeting someone from the Revolutionary War or being a part of a significant event during that time.

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