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Lost Classics Book Company Review by Karen Houston and Kate Kessler

The Minute Boys of Lexington
By Edward Stratemeyer

"Roger's heart almost stopped beating . . . What was this the British officers were saying? They were going to capture Samuel Adams and John Hancock and place them under military arrest! The two greatest men, politically, the colonies at that time knew!"

It must not be," thought the boy. "I must tell Captain Parker - everybody. Somebody must know where Mr. Adams and Mr. Hancock are stopping tonight, and warn them to seek a place of safety. And the militia and minutemen must be on guard, too, against the troops General Gage is going to send from Boston. That surprise must not be all on one side!

"With Bated breath, he was on the point of slipping back into the kitchen, when he felt a cold, bony hand on his collar. Wheeling about, he found himself face to face with a soldier."

This is just one of many exciting scenes of an almost non-stop exciting book! Republished by Lost Classic Books Company,, from the original 1898 version and updated and edited only where necessary, this is one fun book! I stayed up late several times to find out what happened to our 16-year-old hero as he found himself in and out of British Redcoat custody throughout the first battle of our War for Independence. While the 292-page book is fictional, it is based on historical events and incorporates many of the actual happenings of the time. With typical 19th century flair, it is a great read with brave heroes and heroines and dastardly cowardly men - both colonial and British. One of the aspects of the book that I liked was that ladies were ladies (gun-wielding at times!) and the men (except the dastardly ones of course) were men and thoroughly respected the women.

Sprinkled throughout the book are beautiful black and white illustrations and, as a bonus, the book includes a 420-word Build-Your-Vocabulary Glossary. There is even a nicely done map of the Boston and the Lexington/Concord areas to see where the troops were coming from and where the fighting for our freedom began.

The Minute Boys of Lexington will thrill your young reader and engage him or her right from the beginning of the book. What it will also do is give them an accurate picture of what went on during the battles of Lexington and Concord and the surrounding area and more importantly, the true cost the people paid to secure their, and our own, liberty. Come along with the young hero, Roger Morse, see what he saw, and experience the hardships of battle from the eyes of a 16-year-old boy who fights and defends like a grown man. Worth every penny.

-- Product Review by: Kate Kessler, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Mary of Plymouth
By James Otis

Should you choose to purchase this little hardback, you will not be disappointed! This is one of the most interesting historical fiction books on the times of the pilgrims I have ever read. It is packed full of the finer details of daily life in this time so different from ours that is so often lacking in other fiction on this time period. Written from a child's perspective, little Mary is a pilgrim girl who came over on the Mayflower and is now retelling the story of the beginnings of the colony. Here is how the book begins:

My name is Mary, and I am setting down all these things about our people here in this new world, hoping some day to send to my dear friend, Hannah, who lives in Scrooby, England, what may really come to be a story, even though the writer of it is only sixteen years old, having lived in Plymouth since the day our company landed from the "Mayflower" in 1620, more than eleven years ago.

There is much that little Mary relates in her journal to her friend Hannah that is fascinating, heartbreaking, and thoroughly interesting. Mary of Plymouth is replete with delightful black and white woodcut drawings along with other forms of art throughout the 168-page book that correspond with the subject at hand. Another bonus is the 170-word Build-Your-Vocabulary Glossary of terms in the back of the book! Does your child know what a "puncheon" or a "hogshead" is, for example? What about terms like "mayhap" or "besmear" and what does a "tithingman" do anyway? The story is nicely free of any romance, should that concern you, and as the Foreword states, "deal(s) only with facts, so far as that is possible, while describing the daily life of those people who conquered the wilderness whether for conscience sake or for gain."

Published by Lost Classic Books Company,, this gem is among 20 books they have republished from late 19th and early 20th century literature. Mary of Plymouth is one of many fine books you will not be afraid to hand your child; and, if they are interested in this time period, one they will not likely soon put down.

-- Product Review by: Kate Kessler, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

A Knight of the White Cross
By G. A. Henty

Reprinted for ages 12 and up from the 1895 copyright edition. Historical illustrations date from 1815-1849 with permission from the Renunion de Musees Nationaux Chateaux de Versaille et de Trianon (in American, roughly translated for kids, these are cool antique paintings from the French Museum/Palace of Versailles, where King Louis XIV lived and lost a few things - from the head up).

Lost Classics Book Company recognizes the "need to return to more traditional principles in education," and is reworking stories with innate strong moral value from tales lost to us from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. They believe that building character should go hand in hand with children's education, and have been very positively praised by Homeschooling Today (Jul/Aug 1998, Nov/Dec 1998, Jan/Feb 1999 - see a pattern here?), Education Reporter (May 1997), and The Indianapolis News, along with many more publications, for their effort. Lost Classics describes G. A. Henty as a writer whose books lined the bookshelves of most Victorian boys (at the turn of the century), but whose work has been somehow forgotten until now.

What a terrific history, government, political science, or for the more adventurous, Turkish Islam-versus-Christendom unit study this will make! Area maps of Europe are even included for your learning "time voyage."

You've heard of Henry VIII of England, his wife Anne Boleyn, and their daughter Queen Elizabeth I? This is the book of the events immediately before them, which EXPLAINS how it all came to be! This is the not-so-oft told War of the Roses in England, infighting that produced a veritable civil war and positively ravaged that country from 1455-1485.

No, no, it's not about flowers! The story is about the three noble (you know kids, royal) families of England: the Lancasters (noble family represented by the red rose badge) the Yorks (the noble family represented by the white rose badge - now take heart, they couldn't have all died, because Fergie was the Duchess of York and lives in the palace Sunninghill with Prince Andrew's little princesses Beatrice and Eugenie), and the Tudors. This tale sets it all up for you, explains how Henry VII came into power, and how your much-renowned friend Henry VIII was next in line!

We begin with young page Gervaise Tresham, just 12, who dreams of becoming a knight of St. John. He fights for the white cross at the first siege of Rhodes, circa 1480, involving the knights of the Order of St. John, the knights of France, Germany, and Spain and pits the Christians against the Moors! He helps comprise the major defense against the pirates for the benefit of those who believe in Christ. Gervaise has unbelievable adventures, endures many hardships, and by the time he's 17 - well, you just have to READ IT!

I confess I've never been a big history nut, but this is both uniquely pertinent to us and exciting! This is the history or many of our ancestors; as most of our American families came from either Eurasia or Africa, and have been either directly affected by or directly descended from these folks. For our youth, it's important to understand this as the beginning of Eurasia's involvement with the Islamic movement, which helped create the religious portion of the frame of mind demonstrated so vividly to us on September 11, 2001.

We read the tumultuous events from King Henry VI, Queen Margaret, and later even Edward IV, seemingly each in power, then ousted, then back again, in dizzying sequence. Edward V later succeeded to the throne, and was thrown out by Richard III. Henry VII took power following, and married Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth. Once this marriage took place, the houses of York and Lancaster were combined, producing the Tudor family line (If you read the British line of royalty, just look for the BIGGEST, LONGEST ONE! Please, no jokes about Henry VIII and the "two doors" it took him to get into the 34 royal palaces or so he owned, please. Ever wonder why they needed so many homes? Yes, British royalty eventually did learn to pick up their month-old food, their trash, clean their floors and take baths two or three times a year, thereby needing fewer castles!).

The publisher has included for children's homeschool benefit, a historical introduction to the time, a map for the correct years, as well as a 496-word glossary to build vocabulary by encouraging kids to look up words they don't know. Passages in the book that don't reflect our beliefs today were left intact, in order to retain the flavor of the timeframe.

-- Product review by: Karen Houston, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans
By Edward Eggleston

This is another great hardback book from Lost Classics Book Company packed full of more than 50 short history stories for young readers. It is exciting to find such a collection of biographical sketches for children all in one place. Stories included are: William Penn and the Indians, Franklin and the Kite, How Benny West Learned to be a Painter, Daniel Boone's Daughter and Her Friends, How Audubon Came to Know about Birds, The India-Rubber Man, and Kit Carson and the Bears. There are stories from all aspects of early American history.

Reprinted from the 1895 edition, this is also very useful as a reader. The words that Mr. Eggleston uses were chosen so that they would not be too difficult "to the little reader, either from their length or their unfamiliarity." The larger words introduced are divided by hyphens so that reading is less difficult. The hyphens are dropped after the first few uses.

The author states that Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans was written "in the hope that the interest of the narrative may prove a sufficient spur to exertion on the part of the pupil, and that this little book will make green and pleasant a pathway that has been so often dry and laborious." He also states, "It will surely serve to excite an early interest in our national history by giving some of the great personages of that history a place among the heroes that impress the susceptible imagination of a child." These are great stories for your young developing mind!

The illustrations of various mediums accompany the stories throughout and are nicely done. This is a top-notch interesting history reader for a child with the ability to read on his own or for a less proficient reader as a challenging read. Either way, it is a very nice addition to a home library where history is loved. For more information, please see their website at

-- Product Review by: Kate Kessler, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine