Boys of Wartime: Will at the Battle of Gettysburg

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Overview

Twelve-year-old Will wants to be a drummer in the Union army, but he's stuck far from the fighting in his sleepy hometown of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Then the Union and Confederate armies converge on Gettysburg, and suddenly Will and his family are caught up in the battle.

From delivering important messages and helping the wounded to even saving a young soldier's life, Will takes readers on a firsthand trip through one of the Civil War's most ...

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Boys of Wartime: Will at the Battle of Gettysburg

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Overview

Twelve-year-old Will wants to be a drummer in the Union army, but he's stuck far from the fighting in his sleepy hometown of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Then the Union and Confederate armies converge on Gettysburg, and suddenly Will and his family are caught up in the battle.

From delivering important messages and helping the wounded to even saving a young soldier's life, Will takes readers on a firsthand trip through one of the Civil War's most significant battles.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Twelve-year-old Will dreams of the heroic exploits he will undertake once he convinces his parents that he is old enough to be a drummer in the Union Army. However, when war comes, he finds that combat isn't nearly as glorious as he had imagined. At the end of June and into July, the 2400 residents of his town are thrust into the middle of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Will finds himself actively participating—more reluctantly than in his earlier daydreams, but determined nonetheless. He challenges a Confederate soldier who is rounding up free Negroes to sell as slaves, helps a Union colonel get an urgent message to General Meade, and endangers himself to save the life of a Confederate friend. Will sees firsthand the chaotic and horrific realities of war and death. His level of involvement could come across as contrived, but Calkhoven's notes make clear how townspeople of all ages were pressed into action. Will is a more contemplative protagonist than Rodman Philbrick's protagonist in The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg (Scholastic, 2009), and while his internal struggles may seem a little moralistic for his age and time, his confusion about how he can count a Confederate drummer among his friends rings true. With back matter that includes an extensive time line, a list of historical figures who make an appearance in the story, and a detailed author's note, this solid piece of fiction will appeal to history buffs and reluctant readers alike.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Kirkus Reviews

"What would the Rebels want with a place like Gettysburg, Pennsylvania?" wonders 12-year-old Will Edmonds. He's living in Gettysburg with his mother and three sisters, his father's working at an Army hospital and his older brother is a soldier in a Southern prison. Will dreams of glory in battle, but instead the battle is coming to him. As Confederate forces begin arriving in Gettysburg, a town of only 2,400 residents, Will befriends a Southern boy named Abel Hoke, and in that friendship war is made personal: The enemy now has a face he knows. For her second installment in the Boys of Wartime series (Daniel at the Siege of Boston, 1776, 2010), Calkhoven draws on the many firsthand accounts of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War and weaves a solid tale of war through the eyes of Will. Dialogue too often reads like history lessons, but readers will come away understanding not only the facts of the battle but the underlying debates over states' rights and slavery. A fine introduction to a battle that turned the tide of the war. (historical note, children's roles in the Civil War, list of characters, timeline, glossary, further reading)(Historical fiction. 9-12)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142419878
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 2/16/2012
  • Series: Boys of Wartime Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 208,621
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurie Calkhoven lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Intense reading of the Battle of Gettysburg for the young reader

    Laurie Calkhoven writes for the young reader. Chapter books that are full of accurate historical detail and that capture the attention and imagination of the young reader. Her story telling is an experience will guide the young reader into a better understanding of the historical event. My 8-year-old granddaughter's review of the books: I read three books by Laurie Calkhoven. They were all about different wars. In Will at the Battle of Gettysburg I really liked how he showed lots of courage. This book was about the Civil War. The other two books were about the American Revolution and World War II. Daniel in the book about the American Revolution was brave and risked his own life for our country. In the book about World War II I learned that it was a scary time. I don't know which book is my favorite. I like all of them! If other kids like me like intense books they will really like these. I want to read more books by this author! When it was quiet and I was all alone reading these books, I felt like I was there! My Thoughts: There is war in the land and it is affecting every citizen - those the age to fight, those too old to fight, and those too young to fight. Our main character is a 12-year-old boy, Will. He wants so much to do his part as a drummer boy in the war serving for the Union. His older brother is languishing in a Southern hospital as a prisoner and his father is off rendering medical care for the wounded that he as a doctor is so very much in need of providing. Will sees the rebel troups as they approach his town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and then enter shooting and yelling the rebel yell. He later sees the Union troops as they defend Gettysburg against the rebels. He sees death. War is getting a face and that face is personal, real, and sordid. He now knows the enemy. However, in this he meets another young drummer boy who is a rebel. Will takes him into his home and feeds and clothes the bedraggled boy. Later, his good deed comes back to save him. This is Laurie Calkhoven's second book in the Boys of Wartime series. Her account, though written for the young reader age 9-12, draws on firsthand accounts of one of the most famous and bloodiest Civil War battles and provides a good read with good, accurate history lessons. She presents not only the struggle politically between the North and South over slavery, but also over the larger issue of States' Rights. Calkhoven also provides material of benefit to students of history of any age: a glossary, additional reading titles. a detailed "Time Line" of dates and facts, and a list of real historical characters in the book and what their role in history was. Book 1: Daniel at the Seige of Boston (American Revolution) - my review. Book 2: Will at the Battle of Gettysburg 1863 (Civil War) Book 3: Michael at the Invasion of France 1943 (World War II) DISCLOSURE: I was provided a copy of Will at the Battle of Gettysburg 1863 by the author, Laurie Calkhoven in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to render a positive review.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2012

    Love it

    It was an amazing book i will nevrr 4get it u rocl Laurie!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    Good book!

    I luv this book its my favorite

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    love it

    This book is awesome:)

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2013

    Gettysberg

    I feel like im in the book

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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