HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Deborah Sampson Goes to War
Author: Bryna Stevens
Illustrator: Florence Hill
Publisher: Yearling, republished 1991
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 6-9
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
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Stevens, Bryna. Deborah Sampson Goes to War (Published in 1984 by Carolrhoda Books Inc., Minneapolis, MN 55401; republished in 1991 by Young Yearling Books, an imprint of Dell Publishing, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc., 666 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY 10103). In 1760, George Washington has been married one year, Thomas Jefferson is a sixteen year old college student, and Benjamin Franklin is visiting in Europe. On Dec. 17, a little girl named Deborah Sampson is born into a poor family. When she is five her father, who has become a sailor, goes to sea and his ship is lost. Deborah’s mother cannot take care of all her six children, so she sends some of them to live with relatives. Deborah goes to stay with the Benjamin Thomas family where she attends school and learns how to read. As she grows older, she reads in the newspapers about the problems between the colonists and England and agrees with the colonies.
When Deborah is fourteen, the Revolutionary War begins. Seven years later she is 21, the war is still going on, and Deborah wants to help. What does she decide to do? Is it possible that she might fight as a soldier? If so, how does she go about doing it? Or will she be found out and sent home? This book by author Bryna Stevens is the biography for very young readers of a woman who served in the army during the Revolutionary War under the name Robert Shurtleff and who later lectured about her experiences. The well-drawn black and white pictures by illustrator Florence Hill will help the reader to follow the story line. It is an easy book for young children to read and could be a good starting point in getting a child interested in history.