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GEORGE AND RED by Elizabeth Coatsworth



Pub Date: March 31st, 1969
Publisher: Macmillan

Three vignettes centering on two Tom Sawyer types in Buffalo during and following the Civil War--the three only tenuously strung together but boasting some vivid episodes. In the first, George and Red, divided as per their fathers on the issues of slavery and intervention, join forces after the Mason-Slidell incident to patrol the St. Lawrence (with bows and arrows, the latter tipped with their mothers' veil pins) against expected Canadian attack (which fortunately doesn't materialize--the arrows don't shoot straight). Some time later George, in a foul temper, lashes out at Red with the opprobrious ""Copper-head"" and the two part enemies, to George's dismay; but his gloom lifts when the other kids pummel Red for the same reason and he can come to his rescue. In the second, an escapade involving a forbidden rifle is inserted between two singular happenings: the unearthing of the coffin of an Indian princess who turns to dust when it is opened; the viewing of the assassinated Lincoln lying in state--but having eyes only for the guards, George never looks at Lincoln (and consoles himself with the uniqueness of the princess). The last hinges on an abortive Fenian incursion into Canada and the boys' aid and comfort to ""their"" Fenian, and does not carry the weight assigned to it. In any case the book is a maverick, and marginal--small in size for its scope, and not beneficially illustrated or especially simple to read; say a worthy bauble.