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Gr 3-6-A story based on the life of Maria Rind, who lived in Williamsburg during the 1770s. On the eve of the War for Independence, the child is mourning the death of her father, official printer to the House of Burgesses. Of necessity, her mother takes over the printing business, and the nine-year-old must take over the household tasks and the care of her three younger brothers. She is frustrated and jealous when her older and somewhat lazy brother becomes an apprentice to their mother, but her poor reading and writing skills, as well as her gender, prevent her from being elevated to more important work. During the months before the official printer is to be named, their mother holds the business together and even dares to print news of Colonial dissent. With the help of Thomas Jefferson and other men of power, she is awarded the position. The plot moves swiftly, and the characters are well developed. The story is much more realistic and personal than books in the "Dear America" series (Scholastic) since it is based on an actual person. A prologue in which modern-day children are visiting Colonial Williamsburg helps to set the scene. A concluding author's note briefly reviews Maria Rind's life, followed by information about Williamsburg, printing in the 18th century, and childhood during Colonial times. For young readers who enjoy historical fiction, this is an excellent choice as it offers information and insight and focuses on a memorable character.-Carolyn Janssen, Children's Learning Center of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3-6. Like the other books in the Young Americans Colonial Williamsburg series, this begins and ends with a modern framework story: children are gathered around a colonial Williamsburg interpreter to hear a story about Maria Rind, who lived in the town long ago. The fictional Rinds, based on a Williamsburg family, find themselves in a difficult position. Maria's recently widowed mother publishes The Virginia Gazette, an unbiased newspaper to be read by a populace increasingly divided by political tensions. When Maria overhears Loyalists criticizing the paper, she worries that her mother will lose the government contract for printing and with it their printing press and their home. Readers will find Maria a sympathetic heroine; they will learn about the issues and events of 1773, such as the Boston Tea Party. Back matter includes an excellent author's note about the people the characters represent and extensive, illustrated notes on Williamsburg, printing, and childhood in eighteenth-century Virginia. A rewarding addition to the series. Carolyn Phelan
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