Cover image for The midnight ride of Paul Revere
The midnight ride of Paul Revere
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882.
Uniform Title:
Paul Revere's ride
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : National Geographic Society, [1999?]
Physical Description:
28 unnumbered pages : color illustrations, color map ; 31 cm
The famous narrative poem recreating Paul Revere's midnight ride in 1775 to warn the people of the Boston countryside that the British were coming.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 5.7 0.5 45418.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.1 2 Quiz: 25007 Guided reading level: P.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS2271 .P3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Jeffrey Thompson's spectacular illustrations create an amazing depth and a shimmering, mysterious feel that enhance the unfolding drama of Longfellow's immortal rhyme for a new generation of readers. A final note clarifies the historical facts, and a map lets children trace Revere's route.

Author Notes

During his lifetime, Longfellow enjoyed a popularity that few poets have ever known. This has made a purely literary assessment of his achievement difficult, since his verse has had an effect on so many levels of American culture and society. Certainly, some of his most popular poems are, when considered merely as artistic compositions, found wanting in serious ways: the confused imagery and sentimentality of "A Psalm of Life" (1839), the excessive didacticism of "Excelsior" (1841), the sentimentality of "The Village Blacksmith" (1839). Yet, when judged in terms of popular culture, these works are probably no worse and, in some respects, much better than their counterparts in our time.

Longfellow was very successful in responding to the need felt by Americans of his time for a literature of their own, a retelling in verse of the stories and legends of these United States, especially New England. His three most popular narrative poems are thoroughly rooted in American soil. "Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie" (1847), an American idyll; "The Song of Hiawatha" (1855), the first genuinely native epic in American poetry; and "The Courtship of Miles Standish" (1858), a Puritan romance of Longfellow's own ancestors, John Alden and Priscilla Mullens. "Paul Revere's Ride," the best known of the "Tales of a Wayside Inn"(1863), is also intensely national. Then, there is a handful of intensely personal, melancholy poems that deal in very successful ways with those themes not commonly thought of as Longfellow's: sorrow, death, frustration, the pathetic drift of humanity's existence. Chief among these are "My Lost Youth" (1855), "Mezzo Cammin" (1842), "The Ropewalk" (1854), "The Jewish Cemetery at Newport" (1852), and, most remarkable in its artistic success, "The Cross of Snow," a heartfelt sonnet so personal in its expression of the poet's grief for his dead wife that it remained unpublished until after Longfellow's death. A professor of modern literature at Harvard College, Longfellow did much to educate the general reading public in the literatures of Europe by means of his many anthologies and translations, the most important of which was his masterful rendition in English of Dante's Divine Comedy (1865-67).

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 7-9. Bing, whose illustrated edition of Thayer's Casey at the Bat was a 2001 Caldecott Honor Book, turns another famous American poem into an equally handsome volume. Two double-page spreads are devoted to maps: one of the British "Secret Expedition to Concord"; the second showing the routes of Paul Revere and the other riders. Each section of the poem appears on what looks like the yellowed pages of an old book; a long, horizontal panel in each spread carries the main illustration. The scratchboard line work, reminiscent of engravings, is tinted with watercolors. Deep blues predominate in the well-drawn and beautifully lit night scenes, which reflect the atmosphere as well as the sense of the verse. The digital enhancement of the spreads, featuring small, scanned pictures and artifacts, adds three-dimensional elements such as coins, feathers, and playing cards to some of the scenes, but Bing uses this device with restraint. Amid the facsimile documents, folded and affixed to the endpapers, are maps, notes on Revere's ride, the illustrator's lengthy acknowledgements, the dedication, and the welcome notes on the artwork. The poem and illustrations at the heart of it all seem a little encumbered, but children will choose the parts that intrigue them, and so will their parents and teachers. A remarkable visual interpretation of Longfellow's classic poem. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fusing scratchboard drawings and computer technology, first-time children's book illustrator Thompson creates a series of ruggedly sleek illustrations for Longfellow's classic poem. From the stirring first line ("Listen, my children, and you shall hear/ of the midnight ride of Paul Revere"), the artist takes his cue from Longfellow's expert scene-setting. He orients readers with a frontispiece of Revere rousing villagers as he gallops through cobblestone streets. Thompson then zeroes in on the perspective of Revere and "his friend," the one who will signal to Revere with one lamp or two. This opening illustration introduces all the necessary elements: the pair stands at the foot of the North Church with a schooner clearly visible in the harbor. Later, his approach results in a climactic view of the harbor as the British boats begin to cross the Charles River under a full moon: readers see just the outline of the North Church's steeple and the river stretching before them, as if they are in the position of lighting the two lanterns--the signal of an invasion by sea. Echoing the poem's grave tension, Thompson opts for the dark, gothic look of a Tim Burton movie set. Whether outlining the gnarls and whorls of tree bark or the crisscross shadow thrown by a leaded window on a sleeping villager's quilt, he conveys a visual freshness and clarity that breathes new life into this standard of American lore. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-Paul Revere rides again in this oversized version of Longfellow's narrative poem, reproduced here in its entirety, with the stanzas generally laid out as they are in the original version. Thompson's excellent scratchboard and computer-colorized illustrations follow the pattern of this layout, with each full-page drawing accompanying one or two stanzas of the narrative. The artwork has a formal, more stylized look to it than Paul Galdone's drawings in Paul Revere's Ride (Crowell, 1963; o.p.) or Ted Rand's realistic, action-packed paintings in Paul Revere's Ride (Dutton, 1990), and their woodcutlike appearance seems to fit the mood of this monumental tale. Using mostly subdued tones of blue, black, and brown with occasional touches of color (such as the red in the grenadiers' coats), the artist has provided a suitable backdrop for the somber message that the horseman had to deliver. As is true of the aforementioned versions, Revere figures prominently in the illustrations; however, Thompson also alters the perspective in several scenes. In doing so, readers come to understand that this poem is not just about one man's heroic deed, but is also about the nameless people who gave up their lives for the cause of liberty, such as the villager asleep in his bed "Who at the bridge would be first to fall." The map and historical note at the end of the book indicate the inaccuracies of Longfellow's poem, illustrating how writers sometimes employ poetic license. Most libraries will want to own this accomplished rendering.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.