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Civil War Drummer Boy by Verla Kay

Civil War Drummer Boy

by Verla Kay, Larry Day (Illustrator)

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"Civil War Drummer Boy," is set in 1861 when America split between the north and south, and the two were at war with each other. The story follows a young white male, Johnny, who lives on a cotton plantation. Slavery is still intact in the south, and the north does not agree, so the two sides go to war. Johnny signs up for the war, and is assigned to be a drummer boy. The drummer boy plays a vital part in the war, as they are the ones who relay messages to soldiers from superiors. In the end, slavery is abolished, and life returns to a peaceful scene. The story has a rhyming pattern which helps sustain a nice beat while reading it. The illustrations were well done, and depicted the details relayed in the text. Overall, it was a nice story that made reading history fun.

The setting was mostly placed in the south, and it gave us a picture of what life was like before the south receded in the war. Because the author set the story up like that, it gave me a sense of joy seeing how life changed for the better in the south. ( )
  ShelbyNicks | Aug 30, 2017 |
The book was about a young boy, Johnny, who lived on a great, big plantation that had slaves picking cotton. The Civil War began and Johnny joined the army, bringing along his new drumsticks. He practiced and practiced and his hard work finally had a time to shine. The Union Army spied on the enemy to find out where their cannons were hidden. They yell, "Johnny, come! Tap this message on your drum!" The war ended not long after and Johnny was able to return home, although things were different now; However, "Only some things stay the same. Shady porches, fragrant breeze. Clinging vines, magnolia trees." The illustrations were very detailed and described the setting very well. Especially during the war pictures, everything was very detailed and setting was very important for this book. I think the theme was that even during such a terrible time as war, you can still find a way to bring a positive message. I liked how this book was written in the form of a poem because it made it easier to read. ( )
  cedauzat | Feb 15, 2017 |
“Civil War Drummer Boy,” starts out with a little boy playing outside with his siblings. The little boy starts out by saying, “Shady porches, fragrant breeze, clinging vines, magnolia trees.” These are the things that he is taking in when he is playing outside. It shows the kids playing outside and they are next to a cotton field with the slaves working on it. In the town, there is a newspaper article hung up saying that the war is about to start between the north and the south. The little boy is then shown going to sign up to be a drummer in the war. As the book goes on the boy is taking us through his journey of being a drummer in the war. At the end when the confederate war is over the little boy goes home. Then he says that life has changed but not the “Shady porches, fragrant breeze, clinging vines, and magnolia trees.” This book really shows how an innocent child got ripped away from his childhood because of war. The little boy had no choice. The author makes this book have a very rhythmic feel to it. The words all seem to go in a sing-song way. I think that the author did this to make the readers feel like a child, and to see that the child was so innocent and confused that he tried to make a story out of it. It also shows how in that time children were expected to go to war just like adults. It did not matter the age they needed more boys to join. ( )
  Emorrison | Sep 6, 2016 |
I didn’t know that there were drummer boys in the civil war and how important they were to their army. Johnny must send signals to the confederates to acknowledge them of the Unions where about. The book is also in the point of view of Johnny who was such a small child and have to go through that experience. I thought it was great that the book was written in a poem because it was very engaging as I read it. ( )
  tanafernandez | Apr 19, 2016 |
Rhyming text falls flat in comparison to the emotional power of the illustrations. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Verla Kayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Day, LarryIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399239928, Hardcover)

Powerful history through the eyes of a young boy

When Johnny joins the Confederate Army as a drummer boy, he enters a world full of patriotism and adventure, breathtaking hot-air balloons, cannons and campfires. His job is to drum rhythms that tell soldiers what to do. But the dangers of war are all around him and when he returns to the magnolia trees and cotton blossoms of his home, Johnny and the country are forever changed.

Boys as young as nine years old joined both sides during the Civil War and many became drummer boys, giving Verla Kay and Larry Day tons of fascinating details to illuminate Johnny's story.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:29 -0400)

When the Confederate Army calls, Johnny puts aside playing games with his sisters and leaves his plantation home to serve as a drummer boy.

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