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Summary: John McCline had a hard life on the farm. Not because tending the cows and churning butter were hard, but because he was a slave. His Uncle Silas told Johnny that Abe Lincoln would set them free, and told Johnny that if he was young, he'd join the Union army and fight. So the day some Union soldiers marched by the farm, Johnny joined them. As a soldier in Company C, Johnny helped with the animals and earned the respect of his fellow soldiers when he rescued them. This is a nonfiction easy reader about a slave who became a soldier in the Civil War.
Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 10; read yourself: 8 and up
Interest Level: 7 and Up
Reading Level: 2.8
Age of Child: Read with and by an 11-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: "Wow, that's sad ... but good, too." I thought the book would be too young for our daughter, but she looked beyond the easy words to the story.
Adult Reader Reaction: I am really glad I found this book. It focuses less on the issue of slavery and more on Johnny McCline's life and character. As an adult, and having read other accounts, it seems a little Pollyanna-ish, but I liked it for its focus on personal responsibility and perseverance.
Pros: This illustrated biography introduces new readers to the personal, true story of a slave who fought for the Union Army in the Civil War.
Cons: None, other than it glosses over slavery and makes it appear that Johnny was instantly accepted by his fellow soldiers.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is an excellent book, but as an easy reader, it is a story kids will grow out of. A must have for libraries, though.
Educational Themes: This is an informational biography about a slave-turned-soldier during the Civil War. It would be a good place to start so readers connect with someone first, and then build on their knowledge with other books or learning.
Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from the local library.
Literary Categories: Nonfiction - biography, US history, War, easy reader
Date(s) Reviewed: January 2013
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. No reader feedback found.