Thursday, January 24, 2008
The Cemetery Keepers of Gettysburg
High, Linda Oatman. 2007. THE CEMETERY KEEPERS OF GETTYSBURG. Ill. by Laura Francesca Filippucci, New York: Walker. ISBN 0802780946 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-6]
The personal side of war is portrayed through the eyes of seven year old Fred, the oldest of three. His father, the cemetery keeper of Gettysburg, had to leave his family to join the Union Army, leaving his pregnant wife and three sons to tend the cemetery in his absence. During his departure, the three day Battle of Gettysburg broke out.
“Churning butter, I heard sudden shouts from all over town,
loud sounds from guns, and horses’ hooves pounding the ground.”
The family rallies to support the soldiers and, when confronted with the devastation of battle, goes about the gruesome task of burying the dead. The Gettysburg Address paid tribute to the soldiers who lost their lives, and this book is a tribute to families that so dutifully tended to the soldiers.
Told in freeform verse, and accompanied by beautifully detailed watercolors, the emotion, fear and courage of the family is sensitively depicted. This is a great addition to a children’s collection of Civil War stories.
The Gettysburg address is one of the most well-known American speeches. Discuss the ‘SOAPSTones of this speech. [Speaker, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Subject, and Tone] Discuss with the children how the Thorn family may have felt about Lincoln’s speech? What actions might they have taken after this experience? (comparisons may be made to 9/11)
Other books by the same author:
CITY OF SNOW: THE GREAT BLIZZARD OF 1888. ISBN 0802789110
BARN SAVERS. ISBN 1563974037
By Susie Demarest