100 Days and 99 Nights

100 Days and 99 Nights

4.8 9
by Alan Madison

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Dad says because of the army he stood shoulder to shoulder with polar bears and watched the sun rise over the frozen fields of Alaska, which sounds really exciting. And because of the Army he slept in sludge, shoulder to shoulder with snakes and watched the sun set over the swamps of Alabama -- which does not.

In a timely, but not politically charged


Dad says because of the army he stood shoulder to shoulder with polar bears and watched the sun rise over the frozen fields of Alaska, which sounds really exciting. And because of the Army he slept in sludge, shoulder to shoulder with snakes and watched the sun set over the swamps of Alabama -- which does not.

In a timely, but not politically charged way, author Alan Madison looks at the way a family copes with having a parent away on a 100 day, 99 night military tour of duty through the eyes of the very loveable Esmerelda (Esme) Swishback McCarthur. Esme wants to be good while her dad is away. In fact, she feels like it's her duty to be good. But being good can be hard, especially if you have a little brother like Ike. By following Esme's story, as she awaits her father's return, readers will see how heroism can translate to every member of a family.

Aside from the military families that this book serves, readers who wonder what it would be like if their mother, father, brother, or sister was sent away will relate to Esme's quiet strength and candor and will understand her worry about what could happen. This story has the potential to speak to readers on a personal level and to turn a concept that seems so hard to grasp--war--into one that feels much more personal.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 3-5- Esmerelda Swishback McCarther has spent most of her seven years living in four different countries on four different continents with her military family. Arriving back in the United States, she and her brother begin school in a suburb of Washington, DC. Unfortunately, her father must leave for a tour of duty-100 days and 99 nights. Saddened and fearful for him, Esme gives him the precious remnant square from her "blankie" to take with him. While he is away, she struggles to remain dutiful and strong, traits that her family values. Madison authentically portrays the stresses experienced not only at home but also in the classrooms of children whose loved ones are away at war. When Esme and her friend Martina spearhead a project to help the troops by collecting scrap metal, the entire community becomes involved and the news reaches her father, who proclaims Esme a hero. This is a light yet realistic novel about a reality well known to many American families. All branches of the armed forces are featured in some capacity although Esme's father is a sergeant in the Army.-D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH

Kirkus Reviews
Second-grade army brat Esmerelda Swishback McCarther knows all about duty. Uncle Sam has moved her family to Korea, then Kenya, then Germany, before finally depositing them back in the "good ol' U. S. of A." Then one day, during their Saturday morning pancake-making ritual, her father breaks the news that he will be gone on a tour of duty for 100 days and 99 nights. Though Esme is glad that the family doesn't have to move again, she is dismayed at the thought of being without her father. The 100 days turn out to be difficult ones, as do the 99 nights, which are filled with nightmares. To get through them, Esme gets her second-grade class involved in home-front efforts such as a scrap-metal drive and riding their bicycles to and from school to save gas. Although the humor is occasionally off-the-mark and the narrative as a whole is sometimes heavy handed, Madison provides a serviceable and much-needed vehicle for discussing military life and the psychological effects of war on families, particularly children, in modern-day America. (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
File size:
370 KB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Alan Madison is the author of two picture books published by Anne Schwartz Books (S&S). After interviewing some kids whose father was away on a 100 day, 99 night military tour of duty, Alan was inspired to write this story. Alan works on Emeril Lagasse's shows on the Food Network.

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100 Days and 99 Nights 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is truly a great book. If you are not sure if you should read this book I would recomend it. This is a heartwarming book for all even familys who dont have a loved one serving our country.once you give this book a shot tell us what you think. You can write a review to everyone or you can write one to me cakepop123 if you want to write one to me write to cakepop123 at the top of your page.Enjoy your reading! cakepop123
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
We have a saying around our house¿¿We are a military family, so we have to be tougher than most.¿ This is a big responsibility for the kids. They have extra chores. They have to conform to a strict daily routine. They have to have fewer sleepovers and etc¿. This book touches upon the toughness of military kids. I have not seen a book about this topic written for pre-teens. The characters are well-developed. The situations are real. J.T. does not like to read, but I made him read this because of his Dad¿s upcoming deployment. He enjoyed the book 'he read it five pages at a time', and he recommends it to other military kids. When I asked him if it demonstrated how family life is when his Dad is gone, he agreed that it did. Madison is right on target with this book. I am going to recommend this to other military families that I know. Go get a copy for your child or a military child that you know.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bye ttyl
Guest More than 1 year ago
Esmerelda, perceptive beyond her years is the daughter of a third generation career Army Sergeant. After living in three other countries before she¿s 8, her family returns to live in ¿The good `ol U.S. of A.¿ Dad McArthur who gently but firmly instills Army conduct, manners and rules is sent overseas on a secret tour of duty in the desert for 100 days and 99 nights. Many of her classmates have family members serving, and her teacher kindly attempts to have them view the time as mathematically shorter. They know when a life is at stake, it¿s just not possible to see it quite that way. As Mom, Esme and younger brother Ike experience the feelings associated with military separation, Esme bravely tries to fill her Dad¿s shoes at home, while struggling with her own war related issues and anxieties. How one copes, as well as clings to their hopes, underscores the relevant themes in this book. Told through Esme¿s authentic voice, often with interesting, age-appropriate word plays, she alerts the reader to her concerns and those who inhabit her world. A knee-jerk emotion flashes through anyone who learns that kids in her school are more fearful of the Principal coming to take a child out of class and sending them home, than coming because one has misbehaved. Esme¿s impressive creativity and perseverance fills the reader with hope when she initiates efforts with friends to actually do something on ¿the home front,¿ after being told by a school official that there is nothing that can be done. The light pencil illustrations provide an important element to the text, as does the format of the chapters, which are unique and effectively lead the reader through Esme¿s inner and outer world. This book packs a powerful punch using clean communication that a 5th-8th grader will clearly understand. It is not an ¿in your face book,¿ which is refreshing and compelling. Mr. Madison does an excellent job in his debut fiction portrayal of current day military families facing multiple tours of duty.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Esme's father is a sergeant in the United States Army. Her family has lived in locations like Korea, Kenya, and Germany. Now they are settled in the United States and they enjoy spending time together as a family.

During one of those happy times her father announces that he must leave for duty. 100 days and 99 nights is a long time, but he knows that Esme will do her best to help her mother. Esme sends her treasured baby blanket along with him.

Daddy is never far from Esme's thoughts. He misses things like her class play and soccer games, but Esme has the hardest time when he's not there to tuck her in at night or make breakfast on Saturday mornings. Grandpa tries to fill in but it's not the same.

At school the students discuss what they can do to help the soldiers. They want to plant a victory garden but that will have to wait until spring. They collect scrap metal and Esme is featured in a newspaper article showcasing their efforts. Daddy is so proud!

100 days and 99 nights is a long time, especially when things don't go so well. Esme becomes angry when daddy's not around. She knows he's a strong, brave person who is doing a great job, but she's counting the days until he comes home!

This is a poignant book about the impact of war on those who are left behind that even younger children will be able to relate to.