"Listen, my children, and you shall hear/Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere ..." So begins one of the most stirring poems in American literature. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote "Paul Revere's Ride" in 1861, nearly 100 years after the actual midnight ride that began on April 18, in 1775. The poem creates a suspenseful story as American colonist Paul Revere decides with his friend Robert Newman and others to avert a British attack on Concord, Massachusetts. The British had come from Boston in search of the colonists' arms supply. What Revere and his friends didn't know was whether the Redcoats would come by land (around the mouth of the Charles River) or by sea (across the river). Newman spotted the British "by sea" and signaled from the Old North Church tower to Revere, who was "Ready to ride and spread the alarm/Through every Middlesex village and farm,/For the country folk to be up and to arm." And, by morning, the country folk were ready, indeed. "Chasing the red-coats down the lane,/Then crossing the fields to emerge again/Under the trees at the turn of the road,/And only pausing to fire and load." This battle, the first of the American Revolution, drove the British back to Boston.
Ted Rand--well-loved illustrator of The Hullabaloo ABC, Mailing May, Knots on a Counting Rope, and many other critically acclaimed titles--masters the mood and movement of the famous midnight ride, and children will love the power and drama of this historic American event. (Great read-aloud, ages 4 to 8) [via]