Genre: YA historical fiction
Length: 190 pages
Setting: southern Illinois, 1861-1865
Interest: It’s a classic Civil War book for kids that Mr. Curiosity and I read for American History Club.
Summary: Nine-year-old Jethro Creighron’s family farms in southern Illinois. War is rumored to be starting soon and the Creightons are debating the different sides. Jethro’s older brothers Tom and John join the Union forces along with schoolteacher, his sister Jenny’s love, while his brother Bill goes south. Since all of the older boys left, Jethro and Jenny have to maintain the farm. They keep up with the war by reading newspapers. There’s some family trouble, and they don’t make it through the war unscathed, but the family stays strong together.
Final thoughts: While this wasn’t the most exciting book, I really enjoyed. I loved the dialect they used – it really set the scene for a Southern family that didn’t have too much education. You got to follow the progress of the war via the newspapers and the people back home. It was perfect for a kid’s book because the horror of war was removed, but you saw how it impacted the people left at home. Most of the big battles were mentioned. It was cool because we had visited several of the sites on our vacation. There’s something special about reading about a place you’ve actually been.
Title comes from: The time period covered in the book – it starts in April of 1861 and finishes four Aprils later.
Reading challenges fulfilled: 38/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, and an H in my Author Alphabet Soup Challenge
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