Monday, February 21, 2011

Picture Book: The Moonlight Message by Denice Barlow Brown

Summary of The Moonlight Message:  
The Redcoats have arrived.  They enter homes uninvited, demanding food and shelter.   The injustices the colonists are facing prompt the men in the village to grapple with whether they are the King’s Men or Patriots.  Soon, many of the men leave to fight for their freedoms as Patriots.  Tension and uncertainty permeates through each home of those left behind—the women, the children, and the elderly.  Everyone has to work together to do their usual chores and those of the absent men.   Grace and Rachel miss their father and brother who have gone to fight with the Patriots.  The girls ponder what they can do to help the cause.   In the still of the night while lying in bed, Rachel gets an idea.   During a visit the next day to their aunt’s house, Rachel slips into her house while Grace keeps their aunt company in the barn.   Rachel comes out with a bundle of boy’s clothes hidden under her skirts.  Upon leaving, the girls disguise themselves as boys.   Moving stealthily through the town under the moonlight, they stumble across a secret meeting of the King’s Men.  After witnessing a clandestine exchange, the girls follow the recipient and cut him off.  Under the dark of night, their single old rifle and long stick look intimidating.  They boldly demand and successfully acquire the package which they pass on to the Patriot General Greene. 

The Moonlight Message is a fascinating tale of children who acted heroically.  The narrative is based on a true story that occurred during the American Revolution.  The illustrations depict well the action as well as the historical setting.  This book can be used in a unit on the war or in the study of American history.  The protagonists depict admirable character qualities, such as personal responsibility, courage, and heroism.   Also, the importance of patriotism and freedom is displayed.  The Moonlight Message is a great addition to the study of character or patriotism. 

Coming soon from Cypress Productions are more books in their Founder’s Series focusing on patriotism, freedom, and character.  

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