BIGGER by Patricia Calvert


Age Range: 9 - 12
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 The Civil War is over, but Tyler is still waiting for his father, Black Jack Bohannon, to return to their Missouri home. Hearing of Confederate soldiers who, rather than surrender, are moving into Mexico to gather their forces, Tyler decides Black Jack must be among them and begins a journey to the border, determined to locate him and dreaming of their happy reunion. Along the way he adopts an abused dog and becomes friends with an abused slave; but when he eventually returns home he's alone once more. His father has chosen to remain a soldier and the family may never see him again. Tyler's dawning maturity is sensitively handled. It may seem as if he grows up a lot in five months, but his cleansing journey reaches closure before he begins to rebuild his life, as the country must also rebuild. But while the story is infused with compassion for players in the historical tragedy, Calvert inspires less concern for characters involved in the plot. With a modern sensibility toward battle, she deromanticizes the War even while offering up an idealized boy with no faults or troubles beyond missing his pa; and though much is made of his bond with the dog, it's never really heartfelt. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-684-19685-9
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1994


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