Title: Road to Revolution!
Author and Illustrator: Stan Mack and Susan Champlin
Concepts: taxes, economic role of government, producers
Review: Nick and Penny, two youngsters living in Boston at the brink of the American Revolution, may come from opposite sides of the tracks, but they share a deep-seated distrust of the British and a strong loyalty to the American rebels who seek independence. Happy-go-lucky Nick, with his penchant for pick-pocketing, likes nothing better than to make trouble for the British. Hard-working Penny, who helps her father run a busy tavern, agonizes over her father's apparent loyalty to his British customers in the face of growing economic hardship. Together, they become a valuable team who passes along crucial information about the British to Boston's revolutionary leaders, and they place their lives directly in the line of danger to serve the rebel cause.
Intertwined in this exciting story are important lessons in economics, particularly the role of taxes imposed by the British as a cause of the colonists' disgruntlement and revolutionary fervor. This work of historical fiction cleverly inserts the lead fictional characters into a plot based on historical fact, with an epilogue differentiating fact from fiction. Most fun of all is the graphic novel format, with just the right touch of humor and action to catch the attention of a wide range of youngsters, even those who claim a dislike of history books.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children