Eddie's Warby Carol Fisher Saller
Ellisville: where the big news stories are gophers in the graveyard and the new bank alarm. But then America joins the war and Eddie's brother
World War II. Hitler is threatening to take over the world. Eddie Carl thinks America should stop him-it's just plain right. But Eddie's just a kid, and the farm in Ellisville, Illinois, is a long way from the fighting.
Ellisville: where the big news stories are gophers in the graveyard and the new bank alarm. But then America joins the war and Eddie's brother Thomas goes off to fly a bomber. Suddenly the war doesn't seem so far away. And Eddie faces more grown-up problems at home: A fire at the Strothers' place, and his gypsy friend accused of arson. Grampa Rob, all stubborn and mean. Grama Lucy with her secrets. And that redhead Sarah, who definitely likes him-unless maybe she hates him. Somehow Eddie's in the middle of it all, trying to figure out what's right. Let Thomas fight World War II. Eddie's war is right here in Ellisville.
Eddie's War is a lyrical collection of prose vignettes linking Eddie, his family, and a small-town cast of Ellisvillians. Poignant and funny, this World War II story tells how a distant war affects the life of one boy in the Heartland.
In her first outing for children, Saller (The Subversive Copy Editor, 2009) provides a poignant look at boyhood before and during the long years of World War II.
The novel in verse is a well-worked concept, but this effort infuses new life into a genre that's become almost trite. Eddie, just 5 years old as the story begins in 1934, lives contentedly in the glorious shadow of his older brother, Thomas. A few brief vignettes capture the flavor of the pre-war years, as Eddie befriends Jozef, an immigrant his Grama calls a gypsy, who carefully scans newspapers at the library, looking for the only word he can read: the name of his home in Poland, where his wife and son still live. Eddie comes to idolize his brother's friend, Gabe, always the most reasonable of the older boys. Eventually, Thomas and Gabe enlist as the United States enters the war, and Eddie and his parents face the trial of never knowing if Thomas will live to come home. Prejudice against Jozef forces Eddie to make a hard choice to save the beleaguered man. In spare language and remarkably short sketches, carefully selected details effectively portray well-rounded, interesting characters, from Eddie's abusive grandfather to his evolving love interest, Sarah.
Much more an emotionally resonant coming-of-age tale than a war story, this will be an easy sell for those seeking a quick, excellent read. (Historical fiction. 11 & up)
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