Cover image for The battle for St. Michaels
The battle for St. Michaels
McCully, Emily Arnold.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, 2002.
Physical Description:
64 pages : color illustrations ; 22 cm
In 1813, nine-year-old Caroline, a fast runner, helps the residents of Saint Michaels, Maryland, as they defend their town against the British.
General Note:
"An I can read Chapter book."
Reading Level:
440 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.1 0.5 61047.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.2 3 Quiz: 31988 Guided reading level: M.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Easy Fiction

On Order



In the War of 1812, the small ship-building town of St. Michaels on the Maryland coast is expecting a British attack. When the British fleet is sighted, the townsfolk evacuate. Twelve-year-old Caroline Banning is determined to stay and help protect her home. As the fastest runner in town, she carries messages for the defending soldiers and spreads the word when a clever plan is hatched to save St. Michaels. But when the British assault begins, it is Caroline's courage -- not her speed -- that will be tested. Drawing on historical fact and local lore, Caldecott medalist Emily Arnold McCully has created an original story of suspense and bravery.

Author Notes

Emily Arnold McCully was born in Galesburg, Illinois on July 1, 1939. She graduated from Pembroke College, now a part of Brown University, in 1961 and received an M.A. in art history from Columbia University.

After graduation, she held a variety of jobs in the art field that included being a commercial artist, a designer of paperback covers, and illustrating advertisements. When one of her illustrations was seen on an advertisement in the subway, she was asked to illustrate Greg Panetta's Sea Beach Express. She accepted that offer and went on to illustrate over 100 children's books. In 1969, she illustrated Meindert de Jong's Journey from the Peppermint Express, which was the first children's book to receive the National Book Award.

Her first solo venture, Picnic, won the Christopher Award in 1985. Mirette on the High Wire won the Caldecott Medal in 1993. Her other children's books include Amazing Felix, Crossing the New Bridge, Grandmas at the Lake, My Real Family, and The Pirate Queen.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 2^-4. McCully's illustrated adventure story from the I Can Read Chapter Book series takes place during the War of 1812. Fully illustrated with attractive ink-and-watercolor artwork, the tale is told in seven chapters. As McCully explains in an appended note, historians disagree over whether the story is history or legend: when the inhabitants of St. Michaels, Maryland, learned that the British were planning to attack their town from the Chesapeake Bay, they hung lanterns in the trees and on rooftops. Deceived by that "pirate trick" and the fog, the British aimed their cannons too high and the town was spared. McCully tells the story through fictional characters, particularly nine-year-old Caroline, who gamely runs messages back and forth between the general in town and Captain Dobson out at Parrott's Point, one and a half miles away. Although the characters sometimes lack credibility, the excitement will attract readers. --Carolyn Phelan

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-Nine-year-old Caroline Banning, the fastest runner around, is the fictional protagonist of this beginning chapter book set against a historical backdrop. During the War of 1812, the Maryland town of St. Michaels is ill prepared to defend itself against a British invasion. In an attempt to hold off the siege on a stormy night, the local general suggests that the townspeople try to trick their enemy by hanging lanterns in the trees to draw the cannon fire away from the town. Caroline and her friend Robert get the word out and deliver messages between officers. McCully's resourceful heroine, action-packed plot, and dramatic watercolor paintings make for an exciting slice of history for competent independent readers.-Jessica Snow, Boston Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.