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The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds
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The Matchlock Gun (1941)

by Walter D. Edmonds

Other authors: Paul Lantz (Illustrator)

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1,552257,680 (3.71)20
In 1756, during the French and Indian War in upper New York state, ten-year-old Edward is determined to protect his home and family with the ancient, and much too heavy, Spanish gun that his father had given him before leaving home to fight the enemy.

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» See also 20 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Written in 1942, The matchlock Gun focuses on Edward, a young boy left in charge of the family farm when his father leaves to fight in the French-Indian War. Before leaving, his father gives him a matchlock gun to help protect his mother and sister.

While this is the shortest Newbery winner that I've read, it packed quite a punch in its brief pages. Obviously, there are quite a few depictions of war type violence so this might be best for slightly older children. There is a great feeling of bravery in difficult circumstances throughout the story that I enjoyed. Overall, though, I didn't like this book as much as I did other Newbery winners. ( )
  BookishHooker | Dec 16, 2019 |
I really enjoyed this book because it gave a child's perspective of the French and Indian war and also a females perspective as the mother was the main character. Historical fiction makes history come back to life and helps us better understand it.
  Stella.Felix | Nov 13, 2019 |
Summary
The book wrote by Walter Edmonds takes place in 1756 when New York was still a colony. And the French and Indians were constant threats to Edward and his family. Later on in the story Edwards Father is called away and we see Edward try to or become the man of the house. His father had shown him how to use a matchlock gun but the only real question was, would he have to use it?

Review
Although I like the story I do think some of the contents could be viewed as too dark for certain levels of readers. And also taking that the book was published into 1942 into consideration it may be understandable that not all readers will enjoy it as much as others.

Classroom Ideas:
1. Talk with children about the French and indian war.
2. Discuss differences between 1756 and now.
3. Let kids talk about how they help out at home like Edward. ( )
  tabithamarie | Apr 23, 2017 |
Summary:
The Matchlock Gun is a story of a family in 1756 whose father was called away to war. The Van Alstyne family whom consisted of Teunis (pa) , Gertrude (mama), Edward (son) and Trudy (daughter) lived on a piece of land in New York during the French and Indian war. Pa (Teunis) was a captain in a militia and was called away when farms and land where being burnt by the Indians. Pa wanted to protect the family and thought that they could stop the Indians from hurting his family. While Gertrude (mama) and the children stayed back Gertrude could see that a fire was approaching their land and wanted to get a plan together to stop the Indians before they came to kill their family. The family had a long Spanish gun that was an heirloom and Gertrude instructed Edmond to use it when she called out his name because that meant that the Indians were coming. Gertrude went out into the night and saw four Indians approaching, she took off running and the Indians followed her. As Gertrude approached the house she called out Edmonds name and he shot the Spanish gun but not before his mother was hit with a tomahawk in the shoulder. Edmond had killed 3 of the Indians a wounded the other. Their family was finally safe.

Personal Reflection:
I thought the beginning of the book was slow but once I got through the first couple chapters it really began to get interesting. I enjoyed reading this book and the history and what was expected of children during this era was great but a necessity especially in war and conflict times.

Classroom Extension:
This would be a great book to use to act out and give the students roles to get them up and moving while also evaluating their comprehension of the book.
Classroom Extension: Have the students write a paragraph on why do they think the French and the Indians were at war and how can they try to resolve the conflict. ( )
  ekelley05 | Apr 13, 2017 |
Summary:
In this book the author guides you through the scariest of nights for young Edward and his family. Young Edward's father has gone off to fight with the militia and left he, his mother, and younger sister alone on the family farm with the threat of an Indian attack. The first night all is well, but then all during the next day Edward can tell his mother is being vigilant and closely pays attention to what she is doing. Later that night his mother settles in his sister for the evening, and then tells Edward of her plan to watch outside for the Indians. She sets Edward up on the kitchen table with her fathers Spanish Matchlock gun loaded with musket balls, nails, and buttons all packed inside, and aimed at the front stoop. She then gives him explicit instructions on how, and when to fire the gun. As she keeps watch that night she sees the Indians approaching and calls out for Edward to fire, which he does just in time to kill all three attacking Indians. In the commotion of the events his mother is pierced by a tomahawk and the house is set on fire, to which Edward pulls to safety his mother, sister, and grandfather's gun. All through the night, this brave boy watches over his family and burning home, until morning when his father and militia return to congratulate him on his bravery.

Personal Reaction:
I thought this book gave a great first hand insight to just how much danger the settlers were in when fist arriving to the new world. I think it depicts a very descriptive story of how brave one boy was, and the hardships that his family had. The book also demonstrates to the reader how much more was done for simple daily tasks we take for granted, such as, turning butter, milking cows, keeping a fire to stay warm inside, and having to pick vegetables. I would definitely ties this book in with history lessons on early colonization in my classroom!

Classroom Extensions:
1. I would use this book as a read aloud to my class to reiterate how early colonization life was for children.
2. I would after reading this book have my students in small groups reenact different parts of the book.
3. In my classroom I would have my students write a journal entry on how they felt about young Edward killing the Indians and what they think they would do if in that situation.
  JennDunham | Nov 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Walter D. Edmondsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lantz, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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To my godson Nicholas Biddle Edmonds
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Edward watched intently as his father struggled into the blue uniform coat that he had had made when he was elected captain of the Guilderland militia.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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