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

Gr. 3^-5, younger for reading aloud. This picture book features the complete text of "Paul Revere's Ride," illustrated by Jeffry Thompson's large, full-color pictures and a few small, well-crafted images in black and white. Appended is a two-page note setting the historical record straight with a more accurate account of the events that inspired Longfellow's famous narrative poem. Thompson's strong, rhythmic sense of form is used to good advantage in the art. He drew one element of each illustration, transferred it, and cut it into scratchboard; the separate images were then scanned into a computer and composed and colored on line. Sometimes, the complexity of an illustration, combining many elements layered at different depths in the picture plane, detracts from the composition's effectiveness. Overall, however, this large, dramatic picture book is one of the best editions available of this American classic. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bing (Casey at the Bat) once again brings his love of history and attention to detail to bear in Longfellow's classic poem. Even before the famous opening lines ("Listen, my children, and you shall hear/ Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere"), he is busily setting the stage with period window dressing, including faux marbled endpapers cluttered with what looks like original documents (letters that open with an authentic-looking wax seal, newspaper accounts, etc.) plus a variety of found objects, from antique spectacles to a quill pen, seamlessly integrated with the aid of 21st-century technology. He presents the text itself on pages that appear yellowed with age. Pen-and-ink drawings on scratchboard, resembling period engravings, are washed with color cool midnight blues warmed by the glow of candlelight and brightened by the silvery light of the moon. Bing employs the poem's inherent drama. The stanza beginning "Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street,/ Wanders and watches, with eager ears," for instance, finds the lamplighter flattened against the corner of a house as he spies on the British grenadiers. If a few of the spreads are difficult to distinguish (e.g., "The shadowy something far away,/ Where the river widens to meet the bay" that triggers the lamplighter's signal cannot be deciphered, for instance, and it is hard to tell that there's a "second lamp in the belfry"), aspiring historians will overlook them in favor of the cornucopia of relevant facts incorporated into the endpapers including Revere's original deposition to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. For more sophisticated youngsters, Bing's impressive volume helps tell the tale of what happened that April night in 1775. Ages 7-up. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3 Up-Longfellow's most famous tale comes to life once again in Bing's masterfully detailed scratchboard paintings that, through their watercolor glazes, give the appearance of fine old engravings. The digitally produced, superimposed images of playing cards, Colonial money, and various other historical objects enhance the tactile sense of the meticulous renderings. Each half-page piece of text appears on a facsimile of parchment set in Founder's Caslon 30 font, the same typeface used in the first printing of the Declaration of Independence, and the accompanying illustrations, maps, and re-creations of documents clearly reinforce the poet's words. The scratchboards are rich in texture and their many shadows suggest the moods of conspiracy and secrecy that must have permeated those days prior to the battles of Lexington and Concord. One that is particularly poignant is that of Revere hurrying along on horseback while the shadows behind him create a blend of images of both the first and current Stars and Stripes. The illustrations of this beautifully bound rendition are more realistic than those by Jeffrey Thompson (National Geographic, 2000) and are geared to an older audience than those of Paul Galdone's classic version, Paul Revere's Ride (Crowell, 1963; o.p.). Both school and public libraries should add Bing's interpretation to their shelves-this is one patriotic poem that deserves to ride again.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.