Author: Jonathon Scott Fuqua

Publisher: Bancroft Press

ISBN 978-1-61088-077-0 (cloth):
ISBN 978-1-61088-078-7 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-61088-079-4 (mobi)

ISBN 978-1-61088-080-0 (epub)

Ever received a bad grade for a paper in school and dreaded telling your folks about it? Well, that’s exactly how the Baltimore schoolboy, Daniel, feels about his essay on the War of 1812 being graded “Terrible!” by his teacher. In Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore: Flying through History, illustrated with full-page watercolors by the author, Daniel is transported back in time to the Battle of Baltimore in order to see how learning about history can be fun—it all depends on one’s imagination and whether one can cultivate a sense of empathy with those living at the time.

Calvert the Raven is Daniel’s personal talking time machine, from whose back he looks down at the Battle of Baltimore unfolding beneath him. The boy is able to relate both to the heroism and to the heavy toll that armed combat in yesteryear took on those who were involved in such conflict. Gaining insight into the leading personages involved in a decisive moment in the War of 1812 fills Daniel with “memories of brave men and tattered flags” that he can’t wait to share with his family when he returns safely home.

The humorous interaction between the narrator, Calvert, and his passenger enliven the telling of an exciting account of this snapshot of history. A snippet of their interchange reads: ‘“…Who knows, Daniel? When I deliver ya back home, the country of America might not exist anymore.”

Really?” “Really, dude.”’ The laid-back tone of the banter between the two provides light relief to the seriousness of the action unfolding beneath them.

In Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore one is introduced to such key players in the Battle as the American commanders Major General Samuel Smith, who prepared the defence of Baltimore, and Commodore John Rodgers, who led the naval assault on the British forces, captaining the vessel the USS President that captured twenty-three British ships. Jonathon Scott Fuqua’s description of Calvert and Daniel’s sighting of Francis Scott Key, the composer of ‘Defence of Fort McHenry’, which later became ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ as he views the Battle through a spyglass is so enthralling that even a non-American child should become excited by the thought—plus, it opens up an opportunity, as does much of this book, for fun activities that can be embarked upon in relation to the text, making Calvert theRaven in the Battle of Baltimore an excellent classroom reader.

Although teachers in junior grades would really benefit from having this work in their own classroom collection, the work would also fit well with any publicor school library collection. The nicest thing about what Daniel experiences here is that any child can relive the experiences of those who have endured to victory in the past, while becoming aware of the indominitable spirit of the human race—all that it really requires is having the capacity to read, or to listen, to stories that are told in a lively and informative manner, as one is in Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore: Flying through History.

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