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Ghosts of the Civil War Paperback – May 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 2-4-Young Lindsey, bored and cranky as she visits a Civil War reenactment with her parents, is transported back in time when she meets the ghost of Willie Lincoln. Starting with the arrival of the first slaves in 1619, Willie explains the origins of the war and its history. Using highly detailed, captioned paintings, sidebars, and annotated maps, Harness imparts a great deal of information on each spread. In fact, there is no white space in the entire book. The excellent-quality artwork and hand-lettered captions were created using watercolor, ink, and colored pencil. The major battles and campaigns of the war are described, as are political events such as the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. The story concludes with the assassination of President Lincoln, who, reunited with his beloved Willie, sends Lindsey back to her waiting parents. The final pages of the book include biographical sketches of the major figures, a large map summarizing the battles and troop movements, pictures of the various flags, and a list of wartime firsts. This book, while chock-full of information, is nearly impossible to read aloud to a group and may miss its target audience. Younger readers, attracted by the pictures, will be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information. Older children who would benefit from the detailed presentation may be wary of the easy format and the contrived fictional framework. Still, this is a good choice for elementary students with strong reading skills who are studying the period, visiting a reenactment or battlefield, or interested in the War Between the States.

Rita Hunt Smith, Hershey Public Library, PA

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-5. Similar in format to Harness's Ghosts of the Twentieth Century (2000), this story opens with a girl and her parents attending a Civil War battle reenactment. Striking up a conversation with a boy dressed in nineteenth-century garb, the girl discovers that he's the ghost of Willie Lincoln. Together they travel through time and view events taking place before, during, and after the Civil War, from the Lincoln-Douglas debates to the assassination of President Lincoln. The pages are packed with information hand-lettered in the vertical borders of each spread. The paintings are full of period details, mini-dramas involving ordinary people as well as famous figures in the war, and speech balloons carrying the children's conversations and comments from other people in the crowded scenes. Appendixes include cameo portraits and brief biographies of significant people, a map showing campaigns and battlefields, information on flags and famous firsts of the war, a glossary, and two brief bibliographies. An imaginative and strongly visual introduction to the Civil War. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689869924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689869921
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cheryl Harness makes her home in Independence, Missouri, the "Queen City of the Trails," a couple of blocks away from the big white house where Harry and Bess Truman used to live. She lives with Mimi (a black and white Shih Tsu)), and Merrie Emma (a cross-eyed scaredy-cat). As an author, illustrator, public speaker, and presenter in many an elementary school, Cheryl is known for her engaging, entertaining approach to history, her detailed watercolors, and the way she plays her harmonica.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read "Ghosts of the Civil War" as I am working my way through Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals," so the idea of being able to go back in time, as it were, to talk to these people when they were alive is appealing to me. Of course, I have been thinking of what could have been said to Abraham Lincoln, George B. McClellan, or anybody else who appears in these books that could have shortened the war and saved hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides. However, in her fascinating book, writer-artist Cheryl Harness sends her young surrogate Lindsey back to the past in the company of Willie Lincoln to find about what the Civil War was really about.

The idea is that Lindsey has been dragged by her parents to a Civil War re-enactment (I have been to couple of those in Illinois and at one of them Abraham Lincoln showed up). Lindsey thinks the whole thing is dumb, that there is nothing civilized about a rotten war, and has no idea why the North fought the South. But then she sees a sad little boy who seems lost. He explains that he was just wondering why future folks were playing out the War of the Rebellion. When Lindsey wonders why people in the United States could be so dumb as to war against each other, the boy explains it was because the states where not united at all, and proceeds to show her. The next thing she knows, Lindsey is watching a beardless Abraham Lincoln giving his "House Divided" speech at the state capitol in Springfield, Illinois on June 16, 1858. Harness provides a two-page spread that show the entire country divided into free states, slave states, and U.S. territories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lillian on April 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My 9yr old loves this book and wants to get another in the series. It has a lot of information in it, but can be difficult to navigate through it as the pages are so busy - both a plus and a minus.
Great book and we will probably get the Ghosts of the Whitehouse too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Joan E. Aitken on January 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
This picture book for upper elementary has fascinating detailed pictures and printing. The book has a current narrative, which takes the reader into history. The learners may enjoy the fantastic images.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. M. Dudley on March 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My grand-daughter is deeply "into" the Civil War, and loves scary books as well, so this was a perfect gift.
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