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Seeing the Elephant: A Story of the Civil War Hardcover – September 18, 2007

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (September 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374380244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374380243
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.5 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,840,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Presented in a clear and direct writing style, the story has an emotional power that is similar to that in Patricia Polacco's Pink and Say. Stark's realistic paintings are remarkable both for their artistry and their meticulous attention to historical accuracy. This book deserves a place in most collections." - School Library Journal

"Effective . . . This will leave readers with the insight that no side in a conflict has a lock on right or wrong."—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

PAT HUGHES is the author of three historical novels: Five 4ths of July, The Breaker Boys, and Guerrilla Season. Her contemporary young adult novel is Open Ice. She lives outside Philadelphia.
KEN STARK has written and/or illustrated three previous picture books. He lives in southwestern Wisconsin.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Searls on April 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I recently read Seeing The Elephant to my third grade class. The children loved the illustrations of life and clothing during the 1860's. The pictures of early Washington were also of high interest. The story of Izzie and his brothers during the Civil War captivated their attention. Like Izzie, my class realized that how one first perceives an enemy can change. This book was an excellent introduction for children to that period of time in our history.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kirsten G. Cutler on November 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Hughes, Pat. Seeing the Elephant: A Story Of The Civil War. Pictures by Ken Stark. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2007.

A thoughtful story about a ten year old boy named Iz whose two older brothers go off to fight on the Yankee side during the Civil War; one brother Cal is raring to fight, "I'm off to see the elephant" ("Seeing the Elephant" is a euphuism for "going into battle for the first time") but gets typhoid and has to come home before fighting a battle. Iz has no doubts that the Yankees have to fight to bring the Rebels back to the Union. His Aunt Bell is a nurse and she takes Iz back with her to Washington, DC. There he meets President Lincoln at a reception; however, he also meets a rebel soldier who is in a hospital and learns that fighting a war is not just a simple issue of right and wrong. Realistic paintings full of expression and historical setting enhance the quiet strength of this story
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