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Children's Literature Reviews
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Bull Run
Paul Fleischman ; woodcuts by David Frampton.
Contributor biographical information
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, c1993.
104 p. : maps ; 24 cm.


Map on lining papers.
"A Laura Geringer book."
Wilson's Children
Wilson's Junior High School
Elem. School Library Collection
Northerners, Southerners, generals, couriers, dreaming boys, and worried sisters describe the glory, the horror, the thrill, and the disillusionment of the first battle of the Civil War.

Best Books:

Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, 1997 ; National Council of Teachers of English; United States
Best of the Best Revisited (100 Best Books for Teens), 2001 ; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
Booklist Book Review Stars, Jan. 15, 1993 ; American Library Association; United States
Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth, 1993 ; American Library Association; United States
Books in the Middle: Outstanding Books, 1993 ; Voice of Youth Advocates; United States
Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
High Interest-Easy Reading, 1996 ; National Council of Teachers of English; United States
Kirkus Book Review Stars, 1993 ; United States
Middle And Junior High School Library Catalog, Eighth Edition, 2000 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Ninth Edition, 2005 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts, 1994 ; NCTE Children's Literature Assembly; United States
Notable Children's Books, 1994 ; Association for Library Service to Children; United States
Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of the Social Studies, 1993 ; National Council for the Social Studies NCSS; United States
Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books, 1993 ; Cahners; United States
Read Alouds Too-Good-To-Miss , 1996 ; Indiana Library Federation; Indiana
Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 ; California Department of Education; California
School Library Journal Best Books, 1993 ; Cahners; United States
School Library Journal: Best Books for Young Adults, 1993 ; Cahners; United States
Suggested Books for RIF List ; ALSC American Library Association; United States
Teachers' Choices, 1994 ; International Reading Association; United States
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 1994 ; American Library Association; United States
YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 1998 ; American Library Association; United States

Awards, Honors, Prizes:

ABC Children's Booksellers Choices Award, 1994 Winner Middle Grade Readers United States
Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award, 1994 Winner United States
California Book Awards, 1993 Winner United States
Jefferson Cup Award, 1994 Worthy of Special Note Virginia
Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, 1994 Winner United States

State and Provincial Reading Lists:

Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award , 2000-2001 ; Nominee; Indiana
Golden Sower Award, 1996 ; Nominee; Intermediate; Nebraska
Kentucky Bluegrass Award, 1994 ; Nominee; Kentucky
Maine Student Book Award, 1994-1995 ; Nominee; Maine
Massachusetts Children's Book Award, 1995-1996 ; Nominee; Massachusetts
Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award, 1996 ; Nominee; Illinois
Virginia State Young Readers' Award, 1996 ; Nominee; Middle School Level, Grades 6-9; Virginia

Reading Measurement Programs:

Accelerated Reader" "
Interest Level Upper Grade" "
Book Level 5.3" "
Accelerated Reader Points 2" "
Accelerated Vocabulary" "

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.
Lexile Measure 810

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 6
Title Point Value 4
Lexile Measure 810


Carolyn Phelan (Booklist, Jan. 15, 1993 (Vol. 89, No. 10))
Reminiscent of the PBS series "The Civil War," which featured voices reading from letters and diaries of the period, this unusual book spotlights a series of fictional characters, eight from the South and eight from the North, at the beginning of the conflict. The pieces, which appear as a series of single-page entries from 16 journals, stand alone as vivid monologues of well-realized characters. As time passes, the characters reveal more of themselves and their common tragedy, until their paths (or the paths of their loved ones) converge at Bull Run, where some die, others lose relatives, and many illusions of glory give way to images of death and devastation. While some of the characters are soldiers, others provide more oblique perspectives on the war: Toby Boyce, 11-year-old fife player from Georgia who is eager to see action at the front; young Minnesota farm girl Lily Malloy, whose beloved older brother runs away to join the Union army, never to return; Carlotta King, a slave accompanying her master to war, who flees north after the battle; Nathaniel Epp, an opportunistic photographer whose only loyalty is to his purse; and Edmund Upwing, a coachman hired to drive two congressmen and their wives on a picnic "to watch the thrashing of the Rebs" at Bull Run. Abandoning the conventions of narrative fiction, Fleischman tells a vivid, many-sided story in this original and moving book. An excellent choice for readers' theater in the classroom or on stage. Category: Older Readers. 1993, HarperCollins/Laura Geringer, $14 and $13.89. Gr. 6-12. Starred Review.

Deborah Zink (Children's Literature)
Coiled by time and the battle at Bull Run, these are separate monologues from folks whose lives were forever altered by the Civil War. Together the eight fictional accounts from Southerners and the eight from Northerners tell a whole story of pain, loyalty, and disillusionment. This unforgettable lesson encourages youngsters to approach a situation with the knowledge that there are more than two sides to each story; there are as many accounts as there are witnesses. This book will provide insight as well as fine material for student drama. 1994, HarperCollins, $14.00, $14.89 and $4.95. Ages 10 up.

CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1993)
Sixteen voices are commandingly woven into a fascinating, fast-paced account of the Civil War battle of Bull Run. Blending humor, excitement and danger with a grim depiction of war, Fleischman moves in and out of the lives of characters who represent diverse backgrounds, experiences and points of view: north, south, black, white, male, female, military, civilian, etc. Among them are southern colonel Oliver Brattle, whose passion for battle has long ago died; Lily Malloy, the anxious sister of a northern soldier; and Gideon Adams, who "passes" for white in order to fight for the North. Each of the sixteen characters speaks in separate chapters that advance the story while remaining firmly rooted in the experience of the individual. The action begins in the days and weeks preceeding Bull Run, and advances up to and through the disastrous battle, when lives are changed forever. Chapter headings identifying each speaker are enhanced by David Frampton's woodcuts, unique for each character, which further distinguish the shift from one distinctive voice to the next. The author has provided a listing of the various characters and the pages on which they speak at the end of the book so that the work may be easily adapted for the stage or readers' theater. Honor Book, 1993 CCBC Newbery Award Discussion. CCBC categories: Fiction For Children; Fiction For Teenagers; Historical People, Places And Events. 1993, HarperCollins, 104 pages, $13.89. Ages 11 and older.

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1993)
Using a montage of characters in the manner of Spoon River Anthology, a fine novelist and poet offers 60 vignettes from 16 contrasting individuals who describe experiences from Fort Sumter to Bull Run. Coming from both North and South in equal numbers, the narrators include a colonel and a general (the only historical figure here); a Mississippi slave who hopes the state of Virginia will offer a chance for her to escape her master and for a free black man who passes as white to join an Ohio regiment; a southern matriarch who prays for the survival of her daughters' husbands and a Minnesota Irish lass who, in the end, mourns the death of a brother who ran away to war to escape their abusive father; a filer boy and a rough Arkansan who's in the cavalry because his passion is horses; a photojournalist; and an ironical coachman, who drives congressmen and their wives out from Washington to sip champagne and view the battle. Bringing a poet's skill to crafting a unique and believable voice for each, Fleischman selects telling incidents to reveal character and to evoke the early course of the war and its impact on ordinary people--some beginning with dreams of glory, all forced to endure the grim reality. He also suggests the possibility of staging the work or performing it as "readers' theater"--a demanding endeavor that could be well worth the effort. An unusual, compelling look at the meaning of war, the Civil War in particular. Maps and illustrations not seen. 1993, HarperCollins, $14.00; PLB $13.89. Starred Review. © 1993 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
In the words of PW's starred review, Newbery Medalist Fleischman's fictional treatment of this Civil War battle ``relies on individual voices to give a human face to history. The result is at once intimate and sweeping, a heartbreaking and remarkably vivid portrait.'' Ages 10-up. (May)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Like a Shaker cabinetmaker, Fleischman creates stories of deceptively simple design (his books are characteristically slim, his prose as taut as a violin string) that resonate with grace and beauty. His distinctive style has seldom been more effective than in this powerful and poignant account of the first major battle of the Civil War. Reminiscent at times of the technique used to remarkable effect in the acclaimed PBS-TV series The Civil War , the novel relies on individual voices to give a human face to history. The result is at once intimate and sweeping, a heartbreaking and remarkably vivid portrait of a war that remains our nation's bloodiest conflict. In a series of snapshot-like first person accounts, 16 characters (all fictional excepting Gen. Irvin McDowell) from all walks of life--male and female, black and white, Northern and Southern--trace their thoughts, emotions and experiences, from their first bright hopes through the brutal reality of battle. Lily Malloy watches her beloved 17-year-old brother run off to fight for the Union. In Cincinnati, Gideon Adams, a light-skinned African American, dons a disguise and enlists, fearing discovery at every turn. Eleven-year-old Toby Boyce fakes ``Dixie'' on the fife and his audacity convinces the Confederate recruiter to let him join the band. Virginian Flora Wheelworth nurses both Rebel and Yankee in her home near Manassas. Like a fugue, the voices appear, retreat, reappear and blend, gathering momentum and intensity as the current of events pulls the characters inexorably toward the bitter clash by the quiet Virginia stream. Fleischman's artistry is nothing short of astounding. With a few swift strokes of the pen, he creates characters readers care about, and with whom they can sympathize, regardless of their loyalties. Typically deft with a metaphor, here he soars: ``the slimmest of smiles fled his lips, like a snake disappearing down a hole.'' He even manages to inject dry humor into what on the whole is an unflinching look at a grim subject, as when Toby Boyce boasts of his skill on the fife, remarking that he finished ``not . . . much behind the others on most of the pieces and well out in the lead on `Dixie.' '' This is a tour de force that should not be missed. Children's BOMC selection. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)

Betsy Hearne (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March 1993 (Vol. 46, No. 7))
In a sequence of sixty one- to two-page narratives, fifteen fictional characters (and one real general) recount their experiences during the Civil War. A few encounter each other, most meet unawares or not at all, but they have in common a battle, Bull Run, that affects-and sometimes ends-their lives. The writing is clean and the idea clear, but too many tracks muddy the water. Some individuals appear three times, some six, but the broad interspersion makes the identity of each difficult to remember and the development of various scenarios hard to follow. The advantage of such a large cast is, of course, the broadly represented range of society, from a bewildered general to a photographer who gets involved in the fighting to a slave determined to follow her freedom where it leads her. Students who perform the work on stage or as readers' theater, which is suggested in an endnote, will have the advantage of visual portrayals to help sort things out, and any reader will find an absorbing amount of information personalized in these all too brief accounts. Ad--Additional book of acceptable quality for collections needing more material in the area. (c) Copyright 1993, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1993, Geringer/HarperCollins, 104p, $13.89 and $14.00. Grades 5-7.

Kem Knapp Sawyer (The Five Owls, May/June 1993 (Vol. 7, No. 5))
Bull Run is a collection of vignettes from the lives of those who fought the first Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861. The voices that speak to us, and there are sixteen of them, are not easily forgotten. Their words will pull at your heart and echo in your ears. They tell the story of a nation divided in two, families split apart, and bodies dismembered. The general and the foot soldier, the photographer and the courier, the freedman and the runaway slave, the doctor and the cannoneer--all converge on Bull Run for the first major battle of the Civil War. Fleishchman's brilliant portrayal of this moment in time is nothing short of a tour de force. The voices may sound dissonant at first, but a common thread soon emerges. Men and women from the North and South hear the call to battle. Caught in the fever of the moment, they share in the excitement, but the expectations they hold and the dreams they have are lost. Gideon Adams, an African American, wants to join the army, but is told that "It's a white man's war." Flora Wheelworth tends to the sick and dying; she saves locks of hair from the dead soldiers to send to their families. Dr. William Rye operates without chloroform on men, "fanning clouds of flies" from their wounds. He takes some consolation in knowing that those who have died "hadn't lived to maim and murder countless other men in battle." Lily Malloy's brother, defying their father, runs off in the middle of the night to enlist. He never returns, leaving Lily with "a great hatred for the stream called Bull Run." Each character is introduced by one of David Frampton's beautifully executed woodcuts. Frampton has chosen a clever, striking symbol for each of the sixteen characters--a hat for Gideon Adams, who wants to hide his hair so he can pass as white; a spool and needle for Flora Wheelworth, who sews shirts by the score for the soldiers; a fife and bugle for Toby Boyce, the eleven-year-old who is "desperate to kill a Yankee" but is too young to carry a gun and joins the band instead. All sixteen woodcuts, appearing on the cover like squares of a patchwork quilt, hint at the richness and diversity of the characters within. A note at the end of the book makes the excellent suggestion that this work be performed as a readers' theater. I cannot think of a better way to make the characters come alive. With Fleischman's ear for language and his ability to capture an individual in a few brief pages, Bull Run, read aloud, will offer a fresh perspective on the Civil War and the many lives touched, hardened, or crushed by battle. 1993, HarperCollins, $14.00. Ages 10 up.


Bull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861--Juvenile fiction.
Bull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861--Fiction.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns--Fiction.
LanguageCall NumberLCCNDewey DecimalISBN/ISSN
English (eng) PZ7.F59918 Bu 1993
92014745 [Fic]
0060214465 : $18.75 (Can.)
0060214473 : $14.00 (lib. bdg.)
View the WorldCat Record for this item.