Four-year-old Lula McLean lived on a plantation overlooking Bull Run Creek. There her family grew wheat, corn, and oats. In July 1861, troops fighting in the newly begun Civil War arrived on the McLeans’ front lawn in Manassas, Virginia. The peaceful countryside where Lula often spent time playing with her favorite rag doll became a campsite full of cannon and trenches and tents.
Wilmer McLean decided to relocate his family to a tiny village called Appomattox Court House, away from the war and the troops. But a few years later, on April 9, 1865, as Lula played with her rag doll, two visitors in tall boots made their way into her house. Lula and her doll were about to become part of American history.
Robin Friedman and Claire A. Nivola reveal, through the story of Lula and her beloved doll, the story of a nineteenth-century family who saw the Civil War unfold before their very eyes.
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Robin Friedman is an advertising copywriter and freelance writer for several newspapers and magazines in New Jersey. The Silent Witness is her first children’s book with Houghton Mifflin.From School Library Journal:
Kindergarten-Grade 4–Lula McLean lived on a plantation in Virginia, near Bull Run Creek, with her family and her beloved rag doll. When she was four years old, the Civil War began. General Beauregard moved into her house, using it as his headquarters, and the peaceful fields were turned into a military camp. That summer, when the fighting drew too close, Lula's father relocated the family to the town of Appomattox Court House. On April 9, 1865, General Lee and General Grant met in the McLean home to negotiate the surrender of the Confederacy. Lula was playing in the parlor when the men arrived, and she "fled the room, leaving her rag doll on the horsehair sofa." Soldiers called it "the silent witness." Although Lula never saw her doll again, it still exists and is now on display at the Appomattox Court House National Historic Park. Friedman's economical text clearly shows how the Civil War touched the life of a young child. The watercolor-and-gauche illustrations and folk-art style add a sense of comfort to the turmoil and destruction of the war. An author's note provides historical details about the story.– Rebecca Sheridan, Easttown Library & Information Center, Berwyn, PA
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Book Description HMH Books for Young Readers, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Claire A. Nivola (illustrator). book. Bookseller Inventory # M0618442308
Book Description HMH Books for Young Readers, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110618442308