Set in Maryland during the War of 1812, I knew this book was a bit of a risk with my five-year-old, and by the end I’m not sure she quite grasped the when-and-where of the story. Even so, the characters drew her in sufficiently to make for an enjoyable read. There was a bit of suspense, but it was not truly scary. In the end, a good read, but not a re-read book for us.
On the other hand, The Battle for St. Michaels is a fictional story set in the context of very real events. If you have been discussing the Warof 1812 with your children (perhaps you live in the vicinity?) this could be an approachable book on the subject. As an I Can Read Level 4 (Advanced) book, the text is manageable for preschoolers when read to them. A good stepping stone into more serious books on the subject.
Available on Amazon
The Battle for St. Michaels by Emily Arnold McCully. HarperCollins, 2004.