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From the I Survived series , Vol. 7

Sentimental of plotline but informative and breathlessly paced.

The seventh (chronologically earliest) entry in the series pitches a young former slave into the middle of the Civil War’s pivotal battle.

Having saved a Union soldier named Henry Green by hurling a live skunk at his Confederate captors, young Thomas finds himself and his little sister Birdie adopted by Green’s unit. Three weeks, an ambush and a quick march later, Thomas unexpectedly finds himself in the thick of the fighting—possibly on Missionary Ridge itself, though the author doesn’t provide a specific location. Rather than go into details of the battle, Tarshis offers broad overviews of slavery and the war’s course (adding more about the latter in an afterword that includes the text of the Gettysburg Address). She folds these into quick pictures of military camp life and the violence-laced fog of war. Afterward, Thomas and Birdie are reunited with their older cousin Clem, who had been sold away, and make good on a promise to Green (who doesn’t survive) to settle with his Vermont parents and attend the school taught by his sweetheart.

Sentimental of plotline but informative and breathlessly paced. (Q&A, annotated reading list) (Historical fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-45936-5

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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An insightful glimpse into a key period in Alcott’s life and women in nursing.

During the Civil War, Louisa May Alcott served as a volunteer nurse, caring for Union soldiers in Washington, D.C., between December 12, 1862, and January 21, 1863. This well-researched biographical vignette explores the brief but pivotal episode in Alcott’s life.

An abolitionist, Alcott longed to fight in the Union Army, but she did her part by serving as a nurse. Alcott met the female nursing requirements: She was 30, plain, strong and unmarried. Krull describes her challenging solo journey from Massachusetts by train and ship and her lonely arrival in Washington at the “overcrowded, damp, dark, airless” hospital. For three weeks she nursed and provided “motherly” support for her “boys” before succumbing to typhoid fever, forcing her to return to Massachusetts. Krull shows how Alcott’s short tenure as a nurse affected her life, inspiring her to publish letters she sent home as Hospital Sketches. This honest account of the war earned rave reviews and taught Alcott to use her own experiences in her writing, leading to Little Women. Peppered with Alcott’s own words, the straightforward text is enhanced by bold, realistic illustrations rendered in digital oils on gessoed canvas. A somber palette reinforces the grim wartime atmosphere, dramatically highlighting Alcott in her red cape and white nurse’s apron.

An insightful glimpse into a key period in Alcott’s life and women in nursing. (notes on women in medicine and the Battle of Fredericksburg, sources, map) (Picture book/biography. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8027-9668-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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Even readers mad for all things horse won’t give this more than a quick graze before galloping off to richer pastures.

Bright colors and ornate furbelows flash in this survey of horsey fashion through the ages.

The vague topic and Patent’s accompanying commentary—being noticeably thin on specifics—come off as pretexts for an album of portraits for coltish horse lovers. Unfortunately, Brett doesn’t pick up the slack, as both horses and human figures posing in her flat paintings are drawn with unfinished, generic features, and the various blankets, braids, straps, plumes, fringes, saddles and pieces of armor on view are neither consistently identified nor displayed to best advantage. Grouped by function, the gallery of 14 examples opens with war horses (including armored steeds from an unspecified period of the Middle Ages and an Egyptian chariot confusingly paired to an Assyrian scenario set several centuries too early). It then goes on to portray horses trained to dance, race or compete in never-explained ways as draft teams. Following a final batch duded up for parades or, in ancient Scythia, ritual burial, a pair of labeled portraits, one of equine body parts and the other of standard tack, is shoehorned in.

Even readers mad for all things horse won’t give this more than a quick graze before galloping off to richer pastures. (index, bibliography, websites) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58089-362-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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