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Paperback The Matchlock Gun Book

ISBN: 0698116801

ISBN13: 9780698116801

The Matchlock Gun

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

A Newbery Medal Winner In 1756, New York State was still a British colony, and the French and the Indians were constant threats to Edward and his family. When his father was called away to watch for a raid from the north, only Edward was left to protect Mama and little Trudy. His father had shown him how to use the huge matchlock gun, an old Spanish gun that was twice as long as he was, but would Edward be able to handle it if trouble actually came?...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

A story of courage and obedience, family regard

Gertrude and her husband love each other and their children, and are willing to lay down their lives in defense of those concerns. The children must attend to their mother carefully or lives may be lost. The mutual family regard is evident, and gracious treatment given to a tense in-law connection. There may be those who would rush to erase this piece as Native Americans are the bad guys in this story. Truthfully, what ethnic group doesn't have bad guys? We surely avoid societal pendulum swings of racism more effectively by telling all kinds of histories - where a people group may the "bad guys", or the "good guys", or simply by-standers.

War's impact upon a family in colonial America

"The Matchlock Gun," by Walter D. Edmonds, features illustrations by Paul Lantz. The copyright page notes that this book was originally published in 1941. The entire book is about 80 pages long; the main text is 62 pages long and is divided into ten chapters. In his foreword Edmonds establishes the setting of the book: the French and Indian War in colonial America. The tale looks at the war's impact on the Van Alstyne family: husband Teunis, wife Gertrude, 10-year old son Edward, and 6-year old daughter Trudy. Teunis, "a true Dutchman," is a militia captain. The tale's first chapter establishes Edward's fascination with the gun of the title, a massive Spanish weapon that hangs over the mantel. Edmonds has crafted a simple but suspenseful tale of life in what one character calls "the wild America" during wartime. He appeals to the senses with vivid details such as the smell from butter churning. The book also gives a glimpse into his characters' domestic and social lives. Despite its short length, this is a rich text that touches on such themes as advancing weapons technology, the Dutch cultural presence in colonial America, and--most importantly--the impact of war upon families. Edward is an appealing young hero. A short author bio at the end of the book notes that Edmonds was born in upper New York State and that in 1942 this book received the Newbery Medal.

Timeless Story

This book is currently being criticized for its negative, stereotypical depiction of Native Americans. The forward explained that the characters were real people. The Van Alstyne family actually lived and experienced the story's events. Teunis and Gertrude, the mother and father of Trudy and Edward, trekked from Holland, to England, and finally to America to be free. The year was 1757, when Native Americans were aiding the French in the French and Indian War. Edward is the small boy whose actions during an attack on their home by St. Francis Indians provide the central action. The matchlock gun is a huge antique that rests above the fireplace. It has a trumpet-like barrel like a blunderbuss and is too big for Edward to pick up. Before Teunis goes out on a military foray, he shows Edward how to prop up the gun on the table and light it in the event of an Indian attack. Sure enough, Indians attack while Teunis is gone. Gertrude is outside at the time and runs for the house in a pre-arranged scheme of defense. When she gains the porch she screams "Ateoord!," ("Edward!") the cue for Edward to light the gun. He does, but not in time to save his mother from being tomahawked in the shoulder. The gun blasts and kills the three Indians. I believe the criticism of this book is unwarranted, especially since it relates a true story of adult men attempting to murder a woman and two children in their home. I regard true events as immune to political correctness. In addition to this, it offers a fascinating account of a period in American history that is usually overlooked. To those who would remove this excellently written book from public library shelves, I say you are then supporting censorship, promoting anti-intellectual freedom, and deciding for others what you would have them read. Let this book remain on the shelves for others to decide. A well written book deserves an audience. People (even children, if given the chance) are intelligent enough to know when views are from another time, and can glean the good from a classic book like "The Matchlock Gun".

Historically Correct and Politically Incorrect

I had a difficult time locating this book, even though it is a Newberry Winner. Why? Because it depicts Indians in a historically correct manner. There are historically correct stories that depict Indians favorably, such as The Courage of Sarah Noble. Then, there is this story depicting the Indian raids that did occur during the time of the settlers. Let's hope that we are mature enough to face history - the way it is - not in the glossy versions that try to erase the variables in character that exist in every race.

Will Edward be able to defend his home?

This is a small book for children about a true incident in upper New York State in 1756. A young father, Teunis Van Alstyne, has to leave his farm to go with the militia to fight Indians in the French and Indian War. He leaves an old Spanish gun with his ten-year-old son Edward to protect Edward's mother and his little sister. Will edward be able to handle the gun that is bigger than he is? This book won the 1942 Newbery Medal for best contribution to American children's literature.

Wonderful if you love books of courage this books for you

The incredible story of a boy deffending is family while his father is away! I read it in the seconed garde and still haven't forgotten!
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