Daniel Boone’s Great Escape
by Michael P. Spradlin
Illustrated by Ard Hoyt
About the book:
While out hunting buffalo one day in 1778, the great frontiersman Daniel Boone was captured by powerful Shawnee warriors who were enraged by settlers’ murder of their chief when he had tried to broker a truce. Though he was eventually adopted by the Shawnee and grew accustomed to their way of life, Boone was constantly concerned about the safety of his family and friends. So when he heard that the Shawnee were preparing to attack the settlers in an attempt to regain their land, Boone decided to escape. Over four long days, he navigated the harsh Kentucky landscape—traveling 160 miles—never looking back but knowing that the angry warriors were in hot pursuit. This little-known episode from the life of one our most famous Western heroes provides a balanced look at a difficult time in our history through a stunning act of courage that will keep young readers on the edge of their seats.
Michael P. Spradlin
is the author of numerous books for young readers including Texas Rangers: Legendary Lawmen, the Spy Goddess series, and the Youngest Templar trilogy. He lives with his family in Lapeer, Michigan, and like Daniel Boone, he won’t ever admit to being lost (though he will say he was mighty bewildered once for three days). Visit him on the Web at www.michaelspradlin.com
is the illustrator of the New York Times bestseller I’m a Manatee by John Lithgow, among many other books. He grew up exploring the woods and fields not far from Chillicothe, Ohio, where Boone was held captive by the Shawnee long ago. This is his first nonfiction book—and proof that truth really can be better than fiction. Ard was honored to tell this story in pictures with his good friend, Mike Spradlin.
Brainstorm everything you know about Daniel Boone and what it was like to be a pioneer during his time.
- Why was Daniel Boone leading men to the Licking River? Why was their mission so important?
- How did Boone first try to escape from the Shawnee warriors? Did it work? Why?
- Why were the Shawnee so angry with Kentucky settlers? What compromise did Boone make with Chief Blackfish? Have you ever made a compromise with someone?
- What was the gauntlet? Why did Boone have to run it but not any of the other men? What was the result?
- Explain how Boone planned his escape from the Shawnee. What do you think was the most important part of his plan? Would you be willing to take such a risk?
- What did Daniel Boone do for food and shelter during his escape?
- Why do you think the Shawnee decided to pursue him? Can one person be really that important? Why?
- Which part of his journey was the most dangerous? Why? Have you ever been in the wilderness by yourself? What was it like?
- How long did it take Boone to reach Boonesborough? Who did he find? Did he accomplish his task or not?
- Which illustration is your favorite? Why? Why do you think Ard Hoyt used the colors and style of illustration that he did?
Create a board game based on Daniel Boone’s Great Escape. Use incidences from the book to create obstacles, challenges and rewards. Decorate your board with illustrations you create inspired by the text.
Create a map of Boone’s escape from Old Chillicothe, Ohio to Boonesborough, Kentucky. Calculate how many miles Boone must have traveled each day to reach the settlement in four days. Calculate how many miles per hour most people can run and whether he exceeded that number.
Research another great American figure from America’s early days including Native Peoples. Create a timeline of their life and try your hand at writing a narrative of one of their most famous moments.
Music: Sing these new verses to “She’ll be coming around the Mountain”
Verse 1: He’ll be running from the Shawnee when he comes.
Verse 2: He’ll be running through Kentucky when he comes.
Verse 3: He’ll be warning everybody when he comes.
Repeat, as needed, for fun!