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Daniel Boone’s Great Escape

A book for Kids

Daniel Boone’s Great Escapetells 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!


Finding the Illustrator for Daniel Boone’s Great Escape

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, not only was I fortunate enough to meet illustrator Ard Hoyt, we have developed a very close friendship. Ard and I first met years before this collaboration 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.

ard_hoytMy 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 writers 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.

BooneRenderingA 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.

Download the Reading Guide for Daniel Boone's Great Escape

Read about Michael's experiences in researching and writing Daniel Boone's Great Escape on the KAHT Points of Interest blog.

A Reading Guide for Daniel Boone’s Great Escape

DanielBoone_CVRThis 3-page download is a great resource! An interview with Mike, some info about him and the book, info about the illustrator, a discussion guide, and a list of projects that span the curriculum in addition to Reading: Writing, Music, Math, and Art.

The Guide for Daniel Boone’s Great Escape was created by was created by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, a reading specialist and children’s author.


...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!

Kenneth C. Davis, New York Times Best-Selling Author of Don't Know Much About History

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 gauntlet without straying into the exaggeration of a tall tale. Ample evidence of why Boone remains the stuff of legends.

Kirkus Reviews

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!

Jennifer Harkleroad for Library Media Connection

... a thrilling adventure about famed 18th-century frontiersman Daniel Boone. The 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.

Publishers Weekly

For young readers interested in history and those who are drawn to adventure, this true story is a compelling one.

School Library Journal


Considered one of the most prestigious awards in American literature, Western Writers of America annually honors writers for distinguished writing about the American West with the Spur Awards. Daniel Boone’s Great Escape was an award finalist. Since 1953 the Spur Awards have been considered one of the most prestigious awards in American literature.

Daniel Boone’s Great Escape was named on the Bank Street College of Education Best Books for 2008 List. In choosing books for the annual list, committee members consider literary quality and excellence of presentation as well as the potential emotional impact of the books on young readers. Other criteria include credibility of characterization and plot, authenticity of time and place, age suitability, positive treatment of ethnic and religious differences, and the absence of stereotypes.

Enjoy an Excerpt

↓ Jump to Ordering Options

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 forever.

The Legend of Blue Jacket

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.

The Legend of Blue Jacket

end of excerpt

Daniel Boone’s Great Escape

by Michael P. Spradlin

is available in the following formats:

Jul 22, 2008


  • Sorry, this title is not available in digital formats

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