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I want to tell you about a book I read to my children some years ago. Allen French is the author, and I consider it one of my very favorites, as are most all of the works by French. It’s called The Colonials; Being a Narrative of Events Chiefly Connected with the Siege and Evacuation of the Town of Boston in New England and was first published in 1901. You’ll have a hard time locating this book, though. We obtained it through interlibrary loan from the Musser Library here in Muscatine, Iowa, and they got it out of the basement of the University of Iowa Library. It has a Dewey Decimal number instead of a Library of Congress number, which is why it is hidden away in their basement.
If kids today could read books like this instead of dry textbooks, then the study of history would become the nation’s favorite pastime. The Colonials is very detailed and accurate as to the history of the early days of the War for Independence, plus it has all the elements needed for an exciting story: evil uncle, Indians, fair maiden, villain soldier, handsome and rugged hero, hidden treasure, swordplay and duels, and much, much more. But the best part is the way it is written. Other books may have the same sort of plot and characters, but it is the way the sentences and paragraphs are put together that make this a most excellent story. Allen French didn’t need to read a text on rhetoric. He could write his own.