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Across Five Aprils Paperback – January 8, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Narrator Terry Bregy adopts an appropriately boyish tone for his reading of Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt, a Newbery Honor Book in 1965. Bregy compels readers to hear young Jethro Creighton's account of how the horrifying events of the Civil War changed life on his family's Illinois farm, even so many miles from the front lines. (Feb.)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-Irene Hunt's Civil War novel (Berkley Pub., 1986) takes listeners from the first shots fired at Fort Sumter to Lincoln's assassination as seen through the eyes of a Southern Illinois farm boy. Jethro Creighton is nine when his close knit family learns that hostilities have broken out. As numerous male relatives go off to fight for the North and the South, and after his father falls ill, young Jethro takes responsibility for the family farm. With help from an older sister and neighboring farmers, he copes with attacks from local vigilantes, and he makes mature choices about a cousin who has deserted the army. Hunt artfully transforms her grandfather's childhood experiences into a powerful story of family love and the challenges of war. He also weaves a great deal of historical information into this Newbery Honor Book, and adds a generous measure of old-fashioned country wisdom as well. Terry Bregy provides a reliable, low key narration of the descriptive text. Cassettes and case are sturdy and well marked, with simple, but effective cover art. Recorded Books' audiobook of Across Five Aprils (March 2002, p. 85) is narrated by Tom Stechschulte whose voice has a stronger regional sound and provides more distinctive voices. Audio Bookshelf's version, also available in CD format, is strengthened by placing a valuable author's note at the beginning of the story. Either recording of Across Five Aprils will be a valuable addition to libraries where nonprint material on the Civil War is needed.
Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library. Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (January 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425182789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425182789
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (308 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By John Wesley Hardin on March 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you asked me about this book before May of '08, I simply would have answered I read it for school 10 years ago in 8th grade, and don't remember a thing about it. This all changed last year. I had a flight overseas to catch. Before I left my home for the airport, I randomly grabbed this book off the bottom of the shelf, not really thinking, just needing something to read on the plane.

What a treasure I discovered! This book is beautifully written with undertones on how Jethro's thought process changes and develops as the war goes on. It's an incredible read, and really paints vivid pictures for the imaginative. During the course of my trip, I read and re-read this book several times, and learned something new every time. I wish I knew what happened to Bill and the rest of the family after the war.

This 3/5 rating is a bit skewered. Most of the 1 scores are from students who do not want to read it and are being forced to, so they're being spiteful. I challenge all of you younger guys and girls to either genuinely give it a chance, or put it away for 5-10 years, and discover it again. It's an amazing read if given a chance.
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 6, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book I had to do for summer reading. My story is actually very ironic. In the beginning I didnt want to read the book because people who have previously read it were saying that this was the worst book ever. So I blew the book off and totally forgot about it. And when it was two days before the first day of school I relised that I still have yet to read the book. So i found out how many chapters were in the book and made a reading schedule. So I read six chapters a day. But when I got to chapter three I relized how good this book really is. It was soo heartfelt and real. I literally felt as if i was sitting rite next to Jethro and Bill in the field. It was a really strong story and plot line. I could feel the anger, the sadness, and the fear in this book. And when I finally came to the end of the book I didnt want the story to end. I wanted more. I wanted to know what happened to Bill and Eb. I wanted to know if Shadrach and Jenny had any children. I wanted the story to last forever. That is the best book that I have ever read in my entire life. And I would read a thousand times over if I could. I recomend this book for anyone who is from the age 13 up and to anyone who is interested in how the people lived in the Civil War when they weren't the ones fighting in it. So that is why I give Across Five Aprils five out of five stars.
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53 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you are looking for a war adventure story with lots of explosions, forget it. If you are interested in what war does to a loving family's everyday life, this is your book.
Jethro Creighton, the central character, grows from the carefree "baby of the family" to a hardworking, thoughtful adolescent who has seen his brothers go off to fight and in one case, die in the Civil War. Two of the family's sons fight for the Union, one for the Confederacy, and Irene Hunt explores in some detail the ways in which everyday farming folks dealt with these divided loyalties.
Hunt is not the sort of writer to condescend to young readers.She creates situations that make you think and reflect. So maybe a junior-high reader who is "made" to read Across Five Aprils would find it tough going.
I first read this book when I was in high school, so I was a little older than some of the readers who seem to be having major problems with it. Twenty years later, it's still a book I re-read from time to time. Hunt's characters lose none of their vividness -- when you're an adult, you find a whole new interest in her portraits of Jethro's parents and their anguish over their children in wartime.
My advice is, if you're being told to read this for a report and you don't like it, grit your teeth and get through it -- but don't throw the book away. I guarantee that in a few more years you will love it -- unless you've given up on reading altogether.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Annie Morris (anniebe@pcug.org.au) on January 20, 1998
Format: Library Binding
Firstly, I am an Australian who is interested in the Civil War. I have had no formal education about American history and have only started to become a serious student of the Civil War through my husband's interest in the event.
I am greatly fascinated by the effects that Civil War (as with the Holocaust) had on the people of the country. I found Across Five Aprils a perfect introduction to Civil War fiction. It was well researched and written with great compassion. As a "foreigner", I found the apparent "Lincon" worshipping a bit much, but now, after a lot more research and many hours of watching documentaries and reading non-fiction works, I can understand the writer's adulation, especially from Jethro's adolescent point of view. Indeed, I was deeply moved by the last few pages, even to the point of tears as I could imagine Jethro's pain at the loss of his (for want of a better term) last great hope.
I am greatly amused by other reader's opinions of the book being "boring". Well, what can you expect? Amazon describes it as a fictional work. It doesn't say "Read the exiting adventures of a farmer boy as he single handedly wins the Civil War" does it?
This is an excellent read, as the author is so damned good at descriptive prose that you can feel the heat of the fields, take pleasure in the simple pleasures of these people's lives (who could've imagined that salads would have been such a treat!), rejoice in their small triumphs and feel for them in their loss.
I would whole-heartedly recommend this book for "foreigners" with an interest in the Civil War and its effects on an everyday rural family. I also liked this book as I was an avid fan of the Laura Ingalls Wilder (spelling?) Little House series as a child, and I sort of found this book in much the same style.
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