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Clara Barton: Angel of the Battlefield (Treasure Chest Series #1)

Clara Barton: Angel of the Battlefield (Treasure Chest Series #1)

4.0 5
by Ann Hood

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While exploring The Treasure Chest, Felix and Maisie are transported to a Massachusetts farm in 1836. Disappointed that they have not landed in their beloved New York City, they wonder why they were brought to Massachusetts to meet a young girl named Clara Barton. Perhaps Clara has a message for the twins? Or maybe they have one for her?


While exploring The Treasure Chest, Felix and Maisie are transported to a Massachusetts farm in 1836. Disappointed that they have not landed in their beloved New York City, they wonder why they were brought to Massachusetts to meet a young girl named Clara Barton. Perhaps Clara has a message for the twins? Or maybe they have one for her?

Editorial Reviews

Annie Murphy Paul
…Hood's delightful book…manages to preserve the charms of an old-fashioned yarn while nimbly bringing its story up to date…Hood gives us new insight into the appeal of time travel. Its attraction lies not simply in the urge to explore other eras, but to escape from our present, with all its sorrows and complications.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
Adult author Hood’s first middle-grade offering launches the planned eight-book Treasure Chest series, which has 12-year-old twins Maisie and Felix Robbins traveling through time to meet iconic American figures from centuries past. Unhappy about moving from their New York City apartment to their ailing great-aunt’s mansion in Newport, R.I., the twins, who are still reeling from their parents’ recent divorce, make the best of it by exploring their new home, discovering hints of magic as they do. In a room called the Treasure Chest, filled with collected odds and ends of every variety, Maisie and Felix inadvertently travel back to 1836 Massachusetts, where they befriend a teenage Clara Barton (who would go on to organize the Red Cross), before learning how to return home—and perhaps even helping history along a bit. The twins’ personalities (and their historical ignorance) are believable, and there’s a strong, nostalgic sense of the push and pull between past and present woven throughout. While Maisie and Felix’s mother often encourages them to “Stop dwelling on the past,” they can’t help but be drawn to a time—before the move, before the divorce—when things seemed better. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Janice DeLong
Twelve-year-old twins, Felix and Maisie, are not happy with their mother's decision to move them from their familiar apartment in New York City to the huge peacock-blue mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. After all, they have just begun to adjust to the recent divorce of their parents, and now they feel that they are living in another hemisphere, maybe another planet. An apartment located in the attic of the ancient mansion will serve as home to the twins. Although the house looks intriguing in a musty way, the children will not have the run of the rest of the place, since it is a public museum. Willed to them by their great-grandfather, Phinneas Pickworth, the apartment does at least provide a home that will be affordable for their newly divorced mom. Since their mother has to go to work the very first morning after they move into the attic, Maisie and Felix are free to explore, and explore they do, finding a room with a magic treasure chest. Since the chest is housed in an off-limits room in a museum, readers will not be surprised that the enchantments revolve around history. The contemporary adventurers find themselves whisked back to the 1820s to meet Clara Barton in this first volume in "The Treasure Chest" series. Hood, a New York Times Best-Selling author makes each of the twins' well-defined characters, writes a compelling plot, and integrates history with twenty-first century life in an engaging manner. Special features include a biographical section on Clara Barton and a brief teaser for the next title in the series, Little Lion. Librarians and teachers will want this title as inspiration for their reluctant readers. Reviewer: Janice DeLong
Kirkus Reviews
Time travel loses its way in a maze of clichés, product placements and a slow-moving plot. In modern Newport, R.I., fifth-grade twins Felix and Maisie are unhappy with all the changes in their lives. Their parents' divorce has forced them to move to the servants' quarters of Elm Medona, a huge historic mansion owned by distant relatives, far from the bustle of their former life in Manhattan. The twins discover the Treasure Chest, a room filled with artifacts that (eventually) transport them to the young Clara Barton's farmhouse in 1836. It takes nearly 100 pages to get back in time, and once there, the drama slows even more. Meeting Clara and realizing some 175 years have passed seems pedestrian to these modern children. The first thing they want to do is to teach Clara to play baseball. There is little tension, even when they are uncertain as to how they might return to their own lives. Odd-seeming dropping of brand names and overly long descriptions of place further slow the narrative. While the children have an artifact to offer the young Clara, it's hard to see why it matters and how it might change history.

This homage to the Bobbs-Merrill Childhood of Famous Americans series of highly fictionalized biographies falls flat. (map, historical note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Penguin Treasure Chest Series , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
File size:
784 KB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Ann Hood is the author of many books, including How I Saved My Father's Life (and Ruined Everything Else), The Knitting Circle, Comfort, and The Red Thread. She also knits, wanders around museums, has cool glasses, loves the color pink (although she never wears it), and spends a lot of her time wishing she could time travel and meet famous people. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her family. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, O, The Oprah Magazine, and elsewhere.

Denis Zilber lives in Israel.

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Clara Barton: Angel of the Battlefield (Treasure Chest Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ABookVacation More than 1 year ago
While I don’t usually seek out and read MG books, I’m really glad that the publisher gave me this novel to read at my leisure. Originally, I wasn’t sure if I would read it for review or not, but since it’s such a quick read, I decided to give it a shot, and I’m happy I did. Though definitely a novel for young readers, the story itself is interesting—with a little bit of drama, lots of snooping around, and time travel, I was hooked almost from the beginning, genuinely interested in the lives of twins Felix and Maisie, especially because they’ve had it so rough as of late. Due to their parents’ divorce, Felix and Maisie find themselves uprooted from their home and moving into the servants quarters of a 70 room mansion—a mansion their great grandfather built, but that his daughter turned over to the preservation society in order to help with its upkeep. Of course, everything is new for the twins, and the loss of their stable home has them rather upset, so it’s easy to connect with them from the start. Hood does a great job fleshing out the twins, and in no time they are exploring their new home, sneaking around the mansion when they know they aren’t supposed to, and a sense of mystery and magic permeates the story as it begins to take flight. I can see how much a 3rd-5th grader would really love this story, but I also think students as old as 9th and 10th grade would enjoy it as well. Hood really has a way with words, and this novel delivers in all the right places. While these wasn’t much in terms of Clara Barton’s story—more so frivolous information in the beginning—Hood ties it all together for Maisie and Felix, and I can see this historical fiction series becoming a favorite within the classroom.
Despina More than 1 year ago
My 7 year old daughter couldn't put this down. She read 50 pages before bed and begged to be allowed to stay up and finish the book! She is an avid reader and this hit her in the right places. She has requested that we buy the next two books in the series so she can keep up with what Felix and Maisie are doing,and we're obliging. Great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished it. This book is definitely one of the best. I love how this book gives you insight on the person that Felix and Masie meet(Clara Barton in this case). Ann did a wonderful job on this wonderfuul book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago