Fables of the Flag by Ethan Coffee: Book Review

Sher A. Hart here with a book review. Before I start, I want to say I’m happy to be catching up on my reading obligations because I took a chance and took on a blog partner so I could get back some of my writing time. That writing time includes book reviews, so this is my first in a while. My blog partner, Paul R. Hewlett, and I took turns featuring reader recommendations during the latter part of August, so if you have time, you can find some wonderful books for preschoolers on up in previous posts.

Paul has also written a couple of great chapter books that would be fun for young students to read in class. You can even win your choice in a giveaway here, if you hurry. And I wanted to post this review of Fables of the Flag while it’s still close to the start of the school year because I hope some teachers will add it to their schedule. Ethan Coffee found me through World Literary Cafe, and I’m glad he did. Fables of the Flag is like combining history and English into one, except more fun.

Fables of the FlagFables of the Flag by Ethan Coffee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ethan Coffee did a great job of making history come alive in his book where a field trip turns into an unexpected trip through time. Young Jack Preston has a knack for finding trouble, and when he flees a museum guard and ends up meeting a young Ben Franklin, he finds plenty. He’s ill-prepared for colonial life, let alone the conniving enemies of Ben’s family’s printing press. Maybe I shouldn’t call this a historical adventure in case the “h” word sounds boring.

Fables of the Flag is the opposite of boring. It’s exciting.

It’s really a period buddy book and mystery adventure, with lots of danger thrown in. I enjoyed meeting Ben Franklin as a teen, before he became famous. Coffee did a great job creating atmosphere, and not just historical atmosphere. He’s the rare author who uses weather to make his characters miserable when most books seem to take place in a weather vacuum. Coffee also painted some vivid pictures of the shipyard and let his characters experience some harrowing close-calls there.

This would be a great book to read in class. There was some head-hopping, but not a lot. I don’t think most teens will notice. What they’ll notice is how the story makes them feel like they’re there, with Jack and Ben, as they face trials and setbacks in their investigation. And they might feel a little romantic thrill when a pretty girl gets involved. Towards the end, I found myself wishing the book was longer, but all’s well that ends with more adventures to come. I highly recommend Fables of the Flag for teens and even pre-teens who are ready for more than a chapter book. Parents will enjoy it too.

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You can click on the picture to purchase on Amazon, or you can click the tab labeled “My Amazon Store” to purchase anything Amazon stocks.  All funds will go to book giveaways, assuming I ever earn enough. One of these days, I might even earn enough to buy a postage stamp.

I hope word of mouth will give some of the worthwhile children’s books like Ethan’s and Paul’s the boost they need to help the authors write more. Leaving a favorable review is the best thing you can do for an indie author. Remember, you’re their best advertising. So have fun reading and come back in a few days for the Under the Sea Hop featuring Alligators Overhead by C. Lee McKenzie. Thanks for visiting, and please leave a comment, including whether you’d like to see this book in a giveaway by itself or a combined indie giveaway over the holidays.

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Hey There! I’m a fellow blogger/writer looking to meet new people and discover great blogs, and I gladly added myself to your followers! I’d also love to invite you to check out a great giveaway I’m having, that I think would be right up your alley!

    Hope to see you there, and thanks so much!


  2. You’re welcome and thanks, Martin. I visited your blog, entered your contest 5 ways, and suggested you try Rafflecopter. No more little papers in a bowl;>)

  3. Great review Sheryl. I don’t typically read historical but your description of it being more mystery and adventure has me intrigued.

  4. Thanks, Suzanne. I’m one of those who never enjoyed history, but in the context of a mystery adventure, the historical details were a lot of fun for me even when they made Jack miserable. Thanks for visiting and I’ll be by your blog soon.

  5. You know, I didn’t read any historical fiction when I was younger, but now it sounds rather appealing. I might have to check this one out. Thanks for the review.

  6. Doesn’t Tom Sawyer count? But you know, without the fantasy element, I wouldn’t have read this. But since I enjoyed it, now I’m reading Urchin King by Katharina Gerlach and enjoying it too. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you find some great writing ideas in D. C.

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