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The Ride: The Legend of Betsy Dowdy    by Kitty Griffin & Marjorie Priceman order for
by Kitty Griffin
Order:  USA  Can
Atheneum, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

The story of a brave teenager who reputedly rode fifty miles to warn American soldiers that a British attack was imminent, this picture book is based on a legend that dates back to the Revolutionary War.

Betsy Dowdy rides inland from her home on the barrier island of Currituck, North Carolina, to warn General Skinner's camp that the British Army under Lord Dunmore is marching on Great Bridge. Determined to defend the area, the colonial soldiers engage the Red Coats on Dec. 9, 1775, and win the battle.

The story traces the young girl's ride as she braves the wilderness and overcomes natural obstacles like rivers to make her important journey. This female Paul Revere has been the subject of many oral tradition narratives, but finally her story has made it into a book for young readers.

Although the tale is an inspiring one, the accompanying one dimensional, flat illustrations do little to make the reader want to return to the book and reread the story. I fear that after one or two readings of this book it will be relegated to place in the book shelf where it will gather dust and be largely forgotten.

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