From the Publisher
"Richly detailed and well paced, the story provides both well-developed characters and plenty of suspense and gore. For those who like to know the facts behind historical fiction, the author provides historical notes and selected sources. An appealing Civil War title for readers with strong stomachs."
School Library Journal
"This is a fair and informative look at the role of young people in the conflict. The depictions of medicine and nursing are grim and believable, and the cruel treatment of slaves is evident, although graphic descriptions are kept to a minimum."
Library Media Connection
"Schwabach has clearly done her research; her details are rich and she includes historical notes and a bibliography. This would be an excellent classroom supplement to Civil War studies. Recommended."
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Ten-year old Jeremy DeGroot survives on the streets of Syracuse, New York, by selling newspapers. The year is 1863 and he follows the news of the Civil War avidly. Jeremy romantically dreams of becoming a Drummer Boy and dying gloriously for the sake of the Union. One day he makes a huge decision and catches a train for Gettysburg to meet the army. But the army has moved on, so he goes to Washington, D.C. where he manages to join the 107th New York Volunteer Infantry as Drummer Boy. He is excited to finally find a battle but is frustrated as travel is slow and his group winters in Tennessee where he plays marbles with local boys before they finally move toward battle in North Georgia. Meanwhile, Dulcie, an eleven-year old slave, escapes. While trying to determine which army at the river is Union, she falls in and is saved from drowning by Jeremy and Charlie, a sixteen-year old Confederate soldier. The three strike an unlikely alliance and learn the brutal truths about war. Jeremy learns there is no glory in death, just a waste of a life. Dulcie learns she can choose her opportunities as she becomes a medical aide. Charlie learns the ambiguity surrounding why people fight. The battle scenes are presented realistically in this absorbing historical novel. Many questions are raised which could lead to discussions about all wars in general. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Jeremy and Dulcie quickly learn the truths of Civil War battle. Although Jeremy, an indentured servant, is technically required to receive food, clothing, and an education in return for his work, he often finds himself hungry, barefoot, and out of school. Eager to join the war effort, he flees the misery of Old Silas's neglect, has a brief stint as a paper boy, and joins the Union Army as a drummer boy. Dulcie, a young slave in Georgia, escapes and nearly drowns, but is rescued by Jeremy and Charlie, a young Confederate soldier whom Jeremy has befriended (an author's note following the story explains that this was not unheard of at the time). The Peace Society, a clandestine organization of pro-Union Confederate soldiers, becomes a surprising and important force in the three characters' lives. This is a fair and informative look at the role of young people in the conflict. The depictions of medicine and nursing are grim and believable, and the cruel treatment of slaves is evident, although graphic descriptions are kept to a minimum.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA
Fantasizing an heroic battlefield death, 11-year-old Jeremy DeGroot leaves Syracuse, N.Y., for the war in the South. As a drummer boy with the 107th New York Infantry, he learns truths about war and slavery as they slog toward Atlanta in 1864. His story is intertwined with that of 11-year-old Dulcie, an escaped slave who works for the regiment's Dr. Flood. Jeremy quickly discovers that war is chaotic and frightening. His messmates make fun of him, he's tired and hungry and he's unsure where the battle lines are. He's grateful for a clandestine friendship with a young Confederate soldier, Charlie, with whom he trades food and conversation—but Charlie has his own secrets. As a surgeon's assistant, Dulcie participates in an endless round of amputations; Jeremy gets to bury arms and legs. Richly detailed and well paced, the story provides both well-developed characters and plenty of suspense and gore. For those who like to know the facts behind historical fiction, the author provides historical notes and selected sources. An appealing Civil War title for readers with strong stomachs. (Historical fiction. 9-14)