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Children's LiteratureAs the subtitle notes in this level 3 book in the "Ready to Read" series, this account is based on a true Civil War story. The opening pages show a map with the free states in one color and the slave states in another. Young Johnny is a slave, living in Tennessee. He is responsible for taking the cows out to pasture and also for delivering water to the men working in the fields. He never gets thanked for his work and is beaten when one of the cows gets away. It is not a happy life. When he is given a chance to join the Union Army and be free, he takes it. This life is all new and strange, but Johnny becomes a helper with the supply wagon. He had plenty of experience with mules back on the plantation. He is called upon to drive a team and a wagon load of food to men who have not eaten all day. He proves to be capable way beyond his years. It is a heartwarming story with watercolor illustrations that strongly support the text. This is a good choice for Black History month or any time of year. 2005, Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, Ages 6 to 8.