The Silent Witness by Robin Friedman, Claire A. Nivola |, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Silent Witness
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The Silent Witness

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by Robin Friedman, Claire A. Nivola
     
 

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Four-year-old Lula McLean lived on a plantation overlooking Bull Run Creek. There her family grew wheat, corn, and oats. In July 1861, troops fighting in the newly begun Civil War arrived on the McLeans' front lawn in Manassas, Virginia. The peaceful countryside where Lula often spent time playing with her favorite rag doll became a campsite full of cannon and

Overview

Four-year-old Lula McLean lived on a plantation overlooking Bull Run Creek. There her family grew wheat, corn, and oats. In July 1861, troops fighting in the newly begun Civil War arrived on the McLeans' front lawn in Manassas, Virginia. The peaceful countryside where Lula often spent time playing with her favorite rag doll became a campsite full of cannon and trenches and tents.

Wilmer McLean decided to relocate his family to a tiny village called Appomattox Court House, away from the war and the troops. But a few years later, on April 9, 1865, as Lula played with her rag doll, two visitors in tall boots made their way into her house. Lula and her doll were about to become part of American history.

Robin Friedman and Claire A. Nivola reveal, through the story of Lula and her beloved doll, the story of a nineteenth-century family who saw the Civil War unfold before their very eyes.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This is the story of the Civil War's impact on one little girl, her family, and her doll. In 1861, the peaceful existence that four-year-old Lula McLean had always known was abruptly shattered. Her father agreed to allow the Confederate troops to use the family plantation in Manassas, Virginia as a base for their camp. The family lived alongside the troops and helped to care for them until the fighting got so close as to cause Mr. McLean to fear for his family. Then, they packed up and moved to a house in Appomattox Court House. There, far from their beloved plantation, the family celebrated Christmas in 1864. Months later, the family would once more be in the background of history, as Generals Grant and Lee used their parlor as a meeting place for the brokering of the Confederates' surrender to the Union forces. Although Lula herself was not present for the event, her beloved doll was. This is a brief, but significant story that may serve to interest readers further in a long-ago conflict. An informative "Author's Note" provides additional details. 2005, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 4 to 8.
—Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-Lula McLean lived on a plantation in Virginia, near Bull Run Creek, with her family and her beloved rag doll. When she was four years old, the Civil War began. General Beauregard moved into her house, using it as his headquarters, and the peaceful fields were turned into a military camp. That summer, when the fighting drew too close, Lula's father relocated the family to the town of Appomattox Court House. On April 9, 1865, General Lee and General Grant met in the McLean home to negotiate the surrender of the Confederacy. Lula was playing in the parlor when the men arrived, and she "fled the room, leaving her rag doll on the horsehair sofa." Soldiers called it "the silent witness." Although Lula never saw her doll again, it still exists and is now on display at the Appomattox Court House National Historic Park. Friedman's economical text clearly shows how the Civil War touched the life of a young child. The watercolor-and-gauche illustrations and folk-art style add a sense of comfort to the turmoil and destruction of the war. An author's note provides historical details about the story.-Rebecca Sheridan, Easttown Library & Information Center, Berwyn, PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Friedman’s economical text clearly shows how the Civil War touched the life of a young child. The watercolor-and-gauche illustrations and folk-art style add a sense of comfort to the turmoil and destruction of the war." School Library Journal

"This picture book set during the Civil War emphasizes the ways in which warfare can touch an individual. . . . The finely executed watercolor and gouache paintings, reminiscent of primitive art, accentuate the idea that this war was an intimate part of everyday life in the South."—Horn Book Horn Book

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547014364
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
06/16/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
727,641
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.30(d)
Lexile:
AD950L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Robin Friedman is an advertising copywriter and freelance writer for several newspapers and magazines in New Jersey. The Silent Witness is her first children’s book with Houghton Mifflin.

Ms. Nivola has written and illustrated several children’s books, including Planting the Trees of Kenya. She lives with her family in Newton, Massachusetts.

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