Author: J. Scott Fuqua
Publisher: Bancroft Press
ISBN: 978-1-61088-077-0

Ya remember the fleet of sailing ships splashing their way toward Baltimore yesterday? The British are firing on the fort. Worse, Daniel, our cannons in the fort can’t even reach the British ships. They aren’t strong enough. Fort McHenry has to take the punishment and can’t even fight back,” Calvert explains to Daniel in J. Scott Fuqua’s story, Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore.

This over-sized hardcover book has thirty-two colorful pages with large artistic, detailed drawings of ships, American and British soldiers and wartime scenes. Targeted toward young elementary school aged children, the intentional misspellings of words for slang or emphasis may confuse a beginner reader. Although war is bloody and tragic, the illustrations do not depict too much blood or violence. With the topic of the War of 1812, it is a good fictional tome for those wanting to learn about America, one of its wars and who helped the United States win.

One day young student Daniel walks home discouragingly with his poorly graded history paper, afraid his parents will ground him. When he sits down at a park bench to rest, a black raven named Calvert swoops down and starts talking to him.

Shocked with the talking bird with a go-get-‘em, feisty attitude who knows about the boy’s history writing fiasco, Daniel is told to trust and touch Calvert’s wing. Immediately Daniel shrinks in size and the two of them are transported back in time to Baltimore, the third largest city of its day in the early eighteen hundreds while the British Redcoats are bombarding America’s coast.

With Daniel sitting between the bird’s wings, Calvert shows him from the air how both armies fought in the Battles of North Point, Fort McHenry and Baltimore. Explaining famous American icons, he tells Daniel about Major General Samuel Smith, Commodore John Rodgers, and Francis Scott Key.

With historical facts written in an interesting fashion through the bird’s slang, one learns how Rodgers captained the USS President which destroyed twenty three British ships and how Key searched through a spyglass for a flying flag when he wrote “Defence for Fort McHenry” which later became our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

First in this “Flying Through History” series that has been produced in association with the Maryland Historical Society, any reader, young or old, can glean some historical information from it, learning in a fun, creative way about our country.

This book was furnished by the publicist for review purposes.

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