Daniel Boone with Original Lithographs in Color by the Author

daniel boone


Book: Daniel Boone with Original Lithographs in Color by the Author

Author and Illustrator: James Daugherty

Publisher: Viking Children’s Books, republished 1971

ISBN-13: 9780670255900

ISBN-10: 0670255904

Language level:  1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 9-15

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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Daugherty, James.  Daniel Boone with Original Lithographs in Color by the Author (published in 1939 by The Viking Press, New York City, NY).  Daniel Boone was born at Reading, PA, in 1734 to Quakers Squire and Sarah Boone, one of eleven children.  When Daniel was sixteen, his father moved the family to the Yadkin River Valley of North Carolina.  During the French and Indian War, he fought with the North Carolina militia under General Edward Braddock at the ill-fated Battle of the Monongahela.  Returning home, he married Rebecca Bryan.  In 1775, he helped blaze the trail to Kentucky for Richard Henderson’s Transylvania Company.  While living at Fort Boonesborough, his daughter Jemima and later he himself were captured by Indians, but Jemima was rescued, and Boone escaped.  After living awhile at Boone’s Station in Fayette County, near where he fought in the American Revolutionary War Battle of Blue Licks, and then Maysville on the Ohio River, Daniel and Rebecca emigrated with some of their children to the Femme Osage country west of St. Louis, Missouri, where he died peacefully in 1820.

Author and illustrator James Daugherty dipped his pen and his brush into one of our nation’s most dynamic characters whose life adventures are more exciting than the shadowy legend that his name brings to mind, and was awarded the John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children in 1940.  There are a few references to whisky and liquor, and one description of burning Indians in a cabin might be a little intense for small children, but otherwise the marvelous frontiersmen is glorified in this brief biography with Daugherty’s distinguished, rugged  illustrations which presage the heroic action figures found in modern comic books. The highlights of the remarkable career of this Kentuckian, as he carved trails through primeval forest and mountains, creating the Wilderness Road into vast unexplored territory for the colonists and early Americans, are set forth with pride.

One complaint about this book is its supposed political incorrectness, calling the Indians redskins, varmints, savages, and red dogs.  However, it is a historically correct picture of how many people felt during those days of often unprovoked Indian attacks on innocent settlers, many of whom just wanted to live in peace.  The white men didn’t do to the Indians anything different from some tribes of Indians had already been doing to other tribes for hundreds, maybe thousands, of previous years.   Another criticism is that it is a mixed bag of historical anecdotes that combines direct narrative, lengthy quotes, translated speeches, and an authenticated nugget or two of historical fact with conjecture, all masquerading as serious biography.  Hey, cut some slack here.  There is no legend in the book, ala “killed him a b’ar when he was only three” (as the song says about Davy Crockett).  If Boone’s life is presented in a folksy storytelling dialect like a tall-tale yarn, remember that it’s a book for kids, not a tome for scholars.  It should hold the interest of rough-and-tumble boys all right.

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