THE SILENT WITNESS by Robin Friedman

THE SILENT WITNESS

A True Story of the Civil War
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9

KIRKUS REVIEW

The events of the Civil War unfold, filtered through the experiences of Lula McLean, on whose father’s farm the First Battle of Bull Run was fought, and in whose father’s living room Lee surrendered. Friedman expertly weaves the major facts of the Civil War into her narrative, always returning to Lula’s experiences as a touchstone; she moves, for instance, from the Union blockade of Southern ports to describing how Lula’s family was affected. Nivola’s flat, folk-art-y illustrations do the same, giving readers a panoramic view of Sherman’s march through the South and then, with the turn of the page, focusing on Lula as she decorates the house for Christmas of 1864, her rag doll on the floor and a house slave in the doorway, both watching. Although both text and illustrations allude to slavery, the focus is very much kept on the military campaigns and their effects on Lula and her family. By focusing on Lula and her doll—the “silent witness” of the title—the grand sweep of history is placed very firmly and humanely within the grasp of young readers. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 30th, 2005
ISBN: 0-618-44230-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2005




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