A Call to Battle

A Call to Battle

War of 1812

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The War of 1812 comes to life through the eyes of a young Canadian boy.

It's 1812. War has begun, and thirteen-year-old Alexander (Sandy) MacKay is jealous when his older brother Angus goes off with their father to fight the Americans attacking the Niagara region. Too young to know the darker side of battle, he resents being left to shoulder the work on his family's farm.

Itching to get in on the action, he sneaks away from home and heads to Lundy's Lane to join up with the local militia. But battle is imminent, and now there's not much his father can do except try to shield him from the worst of the fighting.

Sandy's idealized notions of what battle will be like are shattered when the man standing before him is killed by a musket ball and Sandy's own brother is severely wounded. At the battle of Lundy's Lane, the united Canadian/British forces turn the tide against the American troops, but Sandy comes to know how chilling war can be.

Just in time for the bicentennial of the War of 1812, A Call to Battle is a sobering look at the realities of war. Author Gillian Chan skillfully depicts the transformation of an impetuous young boy, full of boyish enthusiasm, into a more realistic young man who emerges on the other side of war.

Publisher: Toronto : Scholastic Canada, 2012.
ISBN: 9781443100069


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Nov 02, 2017

Adult readers as well as young readers should find this an absorbing story about how the War of 1812 played in the Niagara Region of Upper Canada. Besides its description of the war itself, the novel makes clear just how tough the lives of our mostly rural ancestors were in the 19th century.
The novel was much less predictable than I thought it would be. When the elder MacKay and his sons are aided by a kindly farm girl, Mathilda Van Camp, early in the novel, I correctly guessed she would appear again further on later in the book. She did, but not in the way I had imagined.
The land battles of the War of 1812 were fought mainly on the British side by British regulars, not by the Canadian militias. Ms Chan says as much in the historical note at the end of the book: “In the years that followed the war the role the militia played may have been inflated…” Any novel that concentrates on Canadians that fought in the militia is likely to contribute to that inflation, however Ms. Chan suggests how things actually were near the end of the book, when Alexander MacKay and his brother are forced to give their weapons to British regulars at Lundy’s Lane, and are switched to helping the wounded.
In the historical note at the end of the book it states that “a naval battle took place off New Orleans in early January 1815, two weeks after the Treaty of Ghent”. In fact, there was a naval battle that British vessels won, the Battle of Lake Borgne, east of New Orleans on December 14, 10 days before the Treaty of Ghent was signed. The Battle of New Orleans, where the American troops under General Andrew Jackson defeated a larger British invading force, was a land battle, fought on January 8.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top