Top critical review
The Story of the Alamo for the Middle Grades
Reviewed in the United States on July 13, 2019
I'm a Vermonter who has never been to Texas, but I've always had a special interest in the Alamo and those who defended it, and I've read several books on the subject. This 108-page book, written for children in the middle grades, tells the story simply and concisely, explaining what happened and why. It has pen and ink drawings on almost every page and a 16-page section of photographs and maps. I would probably recommend it to children who want to learn about the Alamo. But I do have some concerns. First, while the illustrations are useful and important to the book, several of them show facial expressions that are inappropriate to the circumstances, and I found that somewhat jarring. Second, while it may be commendable to present heroes as human beings with human faults, the fact that Travis kept a diary of his relationships with women has no relevance to the battle and adds nothing worthwhile to a children's book. Third, James Bonham, a favorite of mine, is not mentioned. He reportedly carried a message asking for help and when it was denied, he returned to the Alamo to tell Travis and to die with the others. That story, as fact or tradition, deserves to be told. Children should regard the book as an introduction to the Alamo and move on from there.