Sam the Minuteman
A book review for parents
This historical book in the "I Can Read Book" series by Nathaniel Benchley is published by HarperCollins Publishers and is written for kids ages 7 to 10. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Sam Brown's quiet life on a farm in Lexington, Mass., ends abruptly with the start of the American Revolution. Although still a boy, he's expected to join his father and other males in their efforts to thwart British control. In addition to fighting British soldiers, Sam battles his own fears — particularly after his friend is shot in the leg. Accompanying two-toned sketches capture the action and emotion of this significant period in our nation's history.
Sam's parents are both industrious workers prior to the American Revolution. Despite Sam's mother's fears and objections, Sam's father insists Sam join him as the men in their community stand against the British soldiers. The British army appears brutal and heartless in its efforts to ensure that the new land remains under England's rule.
Other Belief Systems
Several illustrations depict men firing muskets and bodies lying on the ground. One shows a small amount of blood from a leg wound.
The New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Was it necessary for the Americans and British to fight?
- What might have happened to our country if they hadn't?
- Parents may want to delve deeper into topics such as war and personal freedoms, even discussing the war in Iraq, if they feel their children can handle the intensity of such a conversation.
Note: This book was first published in 1969; it is often used in second-grade classrooms.
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.