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|Once a shepherd|
Author: Millard, Glenda
In verse, the story of one young shepherd who must leave his wife and unborn child to fight in the Great War. Evokes the reality of war in a way young children can understand while fostering a hope for peace.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.10
Points: .5 Quiz: 170757
Kirkus Reviews (10/01/14)
School Library Journal (11/01/14)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2014 Gr 3 Up—"Once there was a carefree shepherd in a field of emerald green. He lullabied his cloud white lambs and gentlied off their fleece. Once Tom's world was all at peace." So begins this lyrical tale of young Tom Shepherd and his bride. From the start, Millard conveys a sense of foreboding that their idyllic world will not last. Tom must leave his pregnant wife and head off to fight in what appears (from the uniforms) to be World War I. "He wept ten thousand footsteps while a million raindrops fell. Once he marched right into hell." Tom dies when he kneels to help an enemy, and that man later seeks out Tom's wife to tell her of his heroism. The book ends with Tom's wife having fashioned a toy for her son from his father's greatcoat—and again the world is at peace. This story has the potential to be maudlin, but the skillfull writing and carefully constructed watercolors richly transform it. Even the scenes of war have a gentleness about them, as one wounded soldier assists another. Perhaps not a book to be placed in the general picture book collection, any more than Patricia Polacco's Pink and Say (Philomel, 1994) is kindergarten fodder, it is one worthy of purchase where stories of war and moving on are needed. Best used in situations where follow-up discussion is a possibility.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.