July 22, 2008
Walker Books for Young Readers
Illustrated by Ard Hoyt
Daniel Boone's Great Escape tells the dramatic story of Boone’s capture by Shawnee Indians and his eventual escape. While evading capture in a desperate run to freedom, Boone traveled 160 miles through a primeval forest in just four days time. His heroic act gave the settlers at Boonesboro time to prepare for the coming Shawnee attack. Illustrated by Ard Hoyt. This book features the illustrations of Ard Hoyt, illustrator of One-Dog Canoe and Some Dog!
Snowflakes licked at Daniel Boone's face as he crept quietly alone through the woods. He was hunting — the thing he most loved to do. He didn't know that on this cold and snowy day his life would change foreger.
In February 1778, while the Revolutionary War raged back east, Daniel Boone led a party of men to the Licking River in Kentucky to make salt. On the frontier, salt was more valuable than gold because it was needed to preserve meat for the winter. Today he was hunting for food to bring the salt makers.
like it? get it!
"Daniel Boone's encounters with the Shawnee Indians in Kentucky are
chronicled in this illustrated read-aloud book... The story is perfect to read aloud and lends itself to a great discussion. The illustrations are detailed, and colorful pencil drawings show lots of action. Additionally, the illustrations and story format are perfect for reluctant readers who are intimidated by a long biography. There is a great deal of helpful background information included in the epilogue. The book is a great addition to an elementary or middle school collection. Besides its value as a biography, it is simply an interesting story!"
thrilling adventure about famed 18th-century frontiersman Daniel
storytelling is immediate and swift: “Suddenly
the woods went still.... Boone looked behind him and saw a fearsome sight. Four
Shawnee warriors were riding through the trees toward him.” Gripping prose
relates Boone's experiences as the Shawnee hold him captive from February to
June in 1778, until he makes a daring escape to warn fellow settlers of an impending
attack. Hoyt's skillful blend of close-ups and eye-level perspectives pulls
readers right into the action."
"Spradlin turns from Texas Rangers to another
frontiersman, Daniel Boone, in
this little-known adventure based on a brief statement in his autobiography...
As dramatic as the tale are
Hoyt’s expressively crosshatched line-and-watercolor illustrations, which
depict such extraordinary events as Boone’s running the Shawnee’s
without straying into the exaggeration of a tall tale. Ample evidence of why
Boone remains the stuff of legends."
"For young readers interested in history and
those who are drawn to adventure, this true story is a compelling
"the pictures ~ created with watercolor,
colored pencil, and ink, and with lots
of crosshatching ~ practically jump off the two-page spreads. No doubt kids
will be caught up in the adventure..."
"For most young people, history is usually reduced to a long list of boring dates --or worse, bad cartoons. Michael P. Spradlin's thrilling tale of Daniel Boone isn't that kind of history. It is a remarkable true story of a real person doing extraordinary things. And his exciting adventure of the real Daniel Boone proves that the true story is always more intriguing than the myths and legends we often create. It is a great read --and great history!"
In most cases when an author writes a picture book, they have very little contact with the illustrator. Some publishers actually prefer it this way, keeping the two roles completely separate and not allowing the different mediums to influence each other. In the case of my earlier picture books I’ve not had the pleasure to meet Ronald Himler, who illustrated The Legend of Blue Jacket or Roxie Munro who did such a wonderful job with the art for Texas Rangers: Legendary Lawmen.
In the case of Daniel Boone's Great Escape, I was fortunate to not only meet illustrator Ard Hoyt, we have developed a very close friendship. Ard and I first met five years ago at the Children’s Literature Festival in Warrensburg, Missouri. It was the first time at the festival for both of us, and being new and as I jokingly say, shunned by the other authors, we naturally gravitated toward each other. One night, while sitting around and shooting the breeze, we were talking about the influences on our work. Ard mentioned that he idolized Stephen Kellogg as an artist and Kellogg’s work was the reason he became an illustrator.
My ears pricked up and I began to suspect that I had found a potential artist for my story about Boone. I’d always seen the story as a “Kellogg” type of tale and I casually mentioned the story to Ard and was delighted to find that he was a major history buff as well. I asked him, if I ever found a publisher for Daniel Boone's Great Escape, would he be interested in illustrating it? Ard replied with an enthusiastic yes.
But you have to understand something. Ard is one of the finest, nicest, most talented and humble men you will ever meet. Emphasis on the nice. And at these conferences where illustrators are outnumbered by artists 10 to 1, every author has a picture book and is looking for an illustrator. Not knowing Ard as well then as I do now, I suspected he was just being polite and really had no interest in Boone, me or any of my projects.
So imagine my surprise when I returned home after the festival and a couple of days later Ard emailed me a very early Boone drawing. His email asked if this was what I was looking for. I was overjoyed.
A few months later I sold Daniel Boone's Great Escape to Walker & Company and suggested Ard as the artist. They were as thrilled to work with Ard as I was. Now the book is a reality but more importantly we have become fast friends.
I couldn’t have written a better story if I tried.
Read about Michael's experiences in researching and writing Daniel Boone's Great Escape on the KAHT Points of Interest blog.