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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

This story of a tragically injured young silversmith who ends up hip-deep in the American Revolution is inspiring, exciting, and sad. Winner of the prestigious Newbery Award in 1944, Esther Forbes's story has lasted these 50-plus years by including adventure, loss, courage, and history in a wonderfully written, very dramatic package. It's probably not great for little guys but mature 11-year-olds or older will find it a great adventure. 1944 Newbery Award Winner.…

Johnny Tremain

by Esther Forbes

Overall Book Review:

Set against the stirring backdrop of the early days of the American Revolution, Johnny Tremain is the story of a young apprentice silversmith whose talent is surpassed only by his high opinion of himself. After a horrible accident forces him to dramatically change the course of his life, Johnny is caught up in the growing unrest in Boston as the citizens of the American colonies protest taxation without representation. Through secret meetings, stirring speeches, and daring deeds, Johnny gains a deep understanding of and appreciation for the need to fight for liberty and justice. Johnny Tremain is an engaging book, with a vivid cast of characters and a well-researched plot. I loved watching Johnny go from an arrogant apprentice to a strong young man with firm convictions. I especially liked that, while the book is obviously from the point of the view of the American colonists and pro-revolution, the British soldiers Johnny meets had great depth of character as well. Forbes does an excellent job of showing the heartbreaking complexity of war, while balancing it against the need to fight for truth and freedom. This is a book every American should read!

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Random House Children’s Books

Content Analysis:

There are a few mild expletives, many of them creative made-up oaths.

There is some mild violence, mostly relating to war; there are also a few scenes in which young boys get into fights with other young boys (nothing is ever described) and one scene where the main character sees a man who has been tarred and feathered. One of the main character’s friends dies.

There is very mild sexual content—a young girl is seen dressed in a light shift. When confronted, she says that she’s been told she’s too young to be scandalous (it’s implied that if she was older, her lack of dress would be sexually provocative).

Mature Subject Matter:

Mature themes consist of war, sacrifice, and the need for freedom.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

As a kid, I used to tell people that I wanted to be a “professional book reviewer” when I grew up (along with writer/ballerina/figure skater/mom). I thought that any profession that involved the full-time reading of books was my idea of heaven. Getting the chance to review books is a little dream come true!