From School Library Journal
Grade 4–6—Ellie McKelvey feels assured that her brother, Jimmy, will not be drafted into the army because he the only breadwinner in the family while their father is recuperating from a broken leg. She is certain that the draft board will have forgotten about Jimmy or that the war will end quickly. But the Nazis and the Japanese continue to advance, and Jimmy eventually receives his orders. As the war and Ellie's story drag on, she displays a typical 11-year-old's childish anger, blaming her brother for promises he cannot keep. She witnesses her neighbors experiencing death notices and the return of wounded soldiers. Rodman's development of a child's emotional response through her protagonist's unwavering wishful thinking climaxes as word comes of Jimmy's heroic death. Ellie's disbelief extends to desperation and then hopeful thoughts that an error has occurred and that her brother will return any day. Ellie's story moves slowly, but readers will sympathize with her loneliness and inner strength to believe in miracles. This psychological, child-oriented war perspective could provide significance in today's military dilemma.—Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI
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“Beautifully crafted . . . Ellie’s intense outpouring of grief is masterfully portrayed, and Rodman’s painstaking attention to historical detail creates a vividly realized sense of time and place. Readers will find this emotionally gripping story of love and loss profoundly moving.” —Starred, Kirkus Reviews
"Finds beauty in every emotional nuance as Ellie hurtles between self pity, denial, and even rage toward her brother for having “welshed on the deal.” The lively spirit of working-class Pittsburgh, where neighborhood families live for news of the war and the fate of their sons, extends Ellie’s personal story with a broader sense of homefront life. Suggest this fine novel as enrichment to World War II curricula." —Starred, Booklist
"This psychological, child-oriented war perspective could provide significance in today's military dilemma." —School Library Journal
"Rodman's careful attention to Ellie and Jimmy's pre-enlistment domestic rituals and to their upbeat, encouraging correspondence establishes the tight, affectionate bond between brother and sister."
—Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books
“Packed with intimate details about life in America during World War II, this book will leave readers with a meaningful picture of what it was like to live through those very hard years.” —Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Review