Master storyteller Rodman Philbrick takes readers on a colorful journey as young Homer Figg sets off to follow his brother into the thick of the Civil War. Through a series of fascinating events, Homer's older brother has been illegally sold to the Union Army. It is up to Homer to find him and save him. Along the way, he encounters strange but real people of that era: two tricksters who steal his money, a snake-oil salesman, a hot-air balloonist, and finally, the Maine regiment who saved Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg and won the war for the Union.
©2009 Rodman Philbrick; (P)2008 Listening Library
I am a middle school reading and English teacher, and parent of two teenagers. We live in Duluth Minnesota, and our whole family enjoys audiobooks.
I wanted to preview this book (while listening during my running workouts) for my 7th and 8th graders in a reading class because of the historical content. The reader does an excellent job with a wide range of voices. The story itself has a blend of humor and dramatic elements. It introduces the underground railroad, the concept of spies in relation to the Civil War, and the climax centers on the battle of Gettysburg. Add in the fact that Homer, the main character, is an orphan, and you have the ingredients for a compelling story. A word of caution: many readers may need some background about the Civil War to support their comprehension of the whole thing. I liked it, and would recommend this for a family listen on a road trip or something like that.
I wish the kids in my daughter's class could have read this book instead of "Across Five Aprils"! It is funny, insightful, tragic and an all around good time. Mr. Philbrick manages to portray the naivety of youth with the harsh realities of war in an accessible way for all readers. I highly recommnend this fun, face paced book.
The author's unique style makes a solemn, serious topic enjoyable for adults and youth alike. It's heavy at times, but the Twain-like tale keeps it from becoming burdensome. Really enjoyed this, and the narrator was perfect for the story.
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