From School Library Journal
Grade 5–9—This comic-style adaptation of a pivotal moment in U.S. history does a capable job of capturing the people, place, and portent of Civil War-era Gettysburg. The book begins with three edifying spreads: a map of the area, a cast of characters, and a prologue. Butzer then proceeds to the battle, its aftermath, and Lincoln's famous address. Some bold images—a slow rain of cannonballs, a solitary corpse on the battlefield—enliven the gray-toned art. The author/illustrator also made the interesting choice to position portions of the text over images of a chronological progression of civil rights issues, beginning with slavery and including the fight for the rights of women, Native Americans, gays, and more. The story, itself rather brief, is supported by substantial end materials. Extensive author's notes detail the many sources used for research, and the text of the Gettysburg Address is included. It's unfortunate that this useful information wasn't integrated into the main body of the book; it's a lost opportunity to take advantage of the graphic medium. Otherwise, this work serves as a solid introduction to this historically significant event.—Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada
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It’s a good bet that middle-grade readers have heard of the Gettysburg Address, it being one of American history’s most recognizable terms. But what are the chances that they know what Gettysburg was, or who the address was to, or why it was taking place? Starting with Civil War battle scenes that showcase the fury of battle with a terrifying immediacy and moving through to Lincoln’s address itself, first-time author/illustrator Butzer brings home the sentiment behind the history-making cemetery dedication with a substance and reality that is both necessary and very timely. Combining words from actual letters of the time with accessible and expressive art, he introduces young readers to the idea that they may owe something to those who sacrificed all they had for democracy. Lend more weight to these themes by recommending this alongside The Murder of Abraham Lincoln (2005) by Rick Geary or The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation (2006) by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon. Includes an author’s note and bibliography. Grades 4-8. --Jesse Karp