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John Lincoln Clem: Civil War Drummer Boy (Based on a True Story) Hardcover – February 16, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-The lives of "real" children growing up during extraordinary circumstances are documented here in these slightly flawed fictionalized biographies. In Orphan Train Sisters, five-year-old twins Nettie and Nellie Crook are sent west on an orphan train after their neglectful parents are deemed unfit to care for them. They end up in an abusive household, only to get rescued once again and moved to yet another home, the trauma of which isn't adequately captured. The book lacks in-depth characterization and has uninspired dialogue that fails to entirely engage. Primary source photographs and maps as well as vintage-looking black-and-white drawings add an authentic element but also somewhat distract from the narrative. In Civil War Drummer Boy, nine-year-old John Lincoln Clem, who eventually becomes known as "Johnny Shiloh," runs away from home to join the Union Army but is rejected because of his age. He eventually becomes a drummer boy, fights in battle, and gets captured and sent to the Andersonville Prison. What should be a riveting story falls flat with inaccurate use of language (the word moron didn't exist at the time), clunky vernacular such as the use of the term idjit in some places and idiot in others, and excessive and repetitive use of the word fellas. A glossary of terms and drummer's calls is appended. An author's note in each book briefly describes the time period and concludes with a summary of the adult life of the main character/real person. Elementary-aged readers might do better to look for the "Dear America," "My Name is America," and "I Survived" series (all Scholastic) or even the nonfiction "Who Was?" series (Penguin) instead. VERDICT These title will appeal only to the most die-hard fans of historical fiction.-Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
John Lincoln Clem: Civil War Drummer Boy (Based on a True Story series):
"Johnny’s pluck, erstwhile patriotism, and sheer determination make him a likable and sympathetic hero.... the blend of strong story and illustrations brings to life a unique Civil War tale." ―Booklist
"In one of four titles launching the Based on a True Story series, Abbott (a pseudonym for author Kristin O’Donnell Tubb) profiles the youngest known soldier in the American Civil War.... Twenty short chapters, interwoven with archival photos and Noble’s line drawings, depict the grueling realities of a being a Civil War soldier...while dashes of hope...help keep this war story palatable for younger audiences." ―Publishers Weekly
Nettie and Nellie Crook: Orphan Train Sisters (Based on a True Story series):
"This engaging narrative portrays children facing real hardships.... An appended note from Abbott (a pseudonym for Susan Hill) provides information about child welfare in the early 1900s, the orphan trains, and the lives of the real Nettie and Nellie Crook." ―Booklist
Sybil Ludington: Revolutionary War Rider (Based on a True Story series):
"War becomes a family affair in this women-centered tale.... Readers will admire Sybil for her fortitude and appreciate the insight they gain into her time." ―Booklist
"Abbott does a fine job in creating the 18th-century world of the American Revolution. History teachers will delight in the thorough descriptions of rebel espionage strategies and the images of their coded messages." ―School Library Journal
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