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BRAVE KIDS: TRUE STORIES FROM AMERICA’S PAST by Susan E. Goodman

BRAVE KIDS: TRUE STORIES FROM AMERICA’S PAST

Robert Henry Hendershot

By Susan E. Goodman (Author) , Doris Ettlinger (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-689-84980-X
Publisher: Aladdin

Goodman tells the story of Robert Henry Hendershot, the famous “Drummer Boy of the Rappahannock.” Robert runs away from home to join the Union army and finds himself at the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862, three months after Antietam. Ambrose Burnside is now in command of the Army of the Potomac, taking General George McClellan’s place, and Robert is his drummer boy. Not so much the story of the war or even the single battle, this is about one boy’s chance to prove himself and make his mother proud. It is a 12-year-old’s view of his role in one major battle. Robert crosses the pontoon bridge, takes a prisoner, becomes famous, and meets President Lincoln. He even has a poem written about him. As the author is careful to point out, this is a novel based on a true story. She has “dreamed up” Robert’s conversations and private thoughts while staying true to the essence of Robert’s actual story. This entry in the Ready-for-Chapters series succeeds in presenting an interesting slice of history and explaining its context in an afterword. It is a good example of how an early chapter book can provide substantial historical material in a simple format and still do its subject justice. A solid offering for young readers. (poem, bibliography) (Fiction. 6-9)