THE BLUE AND THE GRAY by Eve Bunting

THE BLUE AND THE GRAY

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bunting adds to her series of picture books with serious themes (Smoky Night, 1994, etc.) with this account of an unnamed Civil War battle framed within a present-day story of two young boys, one black, one white, whose new homes are being constructed within view of an unmarked battlefield. As the two boys, fast friends, explore their new homesites, they learn about the tragic loss of life that happened there in that war of "us against us . . . the saddest kind of war there is." Bunting's text is mostly stated in the manner of a child's brief sentences, but sprinkled with rhyming words and typographically arranged like a poem in short lines that slow the reading to a somber pace. Bittinger's oils capture both the bucolic peace of the present-day countryside and the smoke and turmoil of battle, in one case as seen from exactly the same point of view in two consecutive spreads. Particularly effective is the ghostly presence of soldiers, cannon, horses, and wagons as faint silhouettes in some scenes of the two young friends. Offering only hints of the issues over which the war was fought, this is not a book to read without preparation, but it is a worthy complement to books such as Patricia Polacco's Pink and Say (1994) and Karen Ackerman's The Tin Heart (1990). (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-590-60197-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1996




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