|Soldier song : a true story of the Civil War|
Author: Levy, Debbie
An uplifting true story from the Civil War demonstrates the power of music.
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Kirkus Reviews (01/15/17)
School Library Journal (02/01/17)
Booklist (+) (02/15/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/03/17)
The Hornbook (00/05/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2017 Gr 4–6—Levy (We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song) once again combines music and history, this time penning a sophisticated picture book that presents a moment in the Civil War through the framework of soldiers' songs. An introductory note places students within the context of the Civil War, but the bulk of the story revolves around the Battle of Fredericksburg. While stuck at an impasse on opposite sides of a river after an unexpected Rebel victory, recovering soldiers marked their days with musical military rituals and spent their nights trading opposing patriotic songs that they "fired back and forth like musical cannonballs." This engaging and descriptive narrative is interspersed with first-person soldiers' accounts. The culmination of the tale is when one side began to play "Home Sweet Home" and the other side joined in, resulting in a night of mutual celebration. Through this event, soldiers were revealed to one another, and thus to readers, as entirely human; "the enemy was also a son, a brother, a husband," to the point where the song was forbidden. Ford (The Wonderful Thing That Came from a Spring) illustrates this heartfelt account with deep colors and silhouetted cutouts. The warmth and explosiveness of music are represented by swirling orange and red lines, along with the actual notations of many of the songs. Ford does not shy away from the brutality of war but avoids gruesomeness with the muted palette and stylized art. The unifying point in time is depicted in a wordless moonlit spread, with layered shades of purple, blue, and green. Concluding with extensive back matter, Levy and Ford leave readers satisfied. VERDICT An up-close look at a moment in U.S. history and the reality, and unexpected humanity, of war; for sophisticated readers.—Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/15/2017 *Starred Review* The Battle of Fredericksburg was one of the most significant of the Civil War battles. It was a time of unimaginable horror: cold, death, sickness, and despair. And yet, as revealed in this remarkable book, it was also a time of shared emotions. In the battle’s aftermath, Union and Confederate soldiers were trapped on either side of the Rappahannock River and set up camp for the winter. As they nursed the wounded and buried the dead, they heard familiar bugle calls and music of the military bands from either side and sometimes traded songs, firing melodies “like musical cannonballs” across the river. Levy’s prose is elegant and precise, and her tone positions readers at a respectful distance from the soldiers coping with fear, homesickness, and vulnerability. The text incorporates quotes from soldiers’ letters and musical scores, alternating songs just as the battling bands did. Uniting both sides, ultimately, were the tender strains of “Home, Sweet Home.” Ford’s vivid illustrations capture the desolation of the cold, dark evenings in blues and grays, and the vibrancy of the music that sustained the soldiers, in swirls of orange and red. Back matter includes additional information about the battle, “Home, Sweet Home,” and resources for further research. An arresting, soulful tribute to the power of music and the shared humanity that underlies conflict. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.