In July 1863 the bloodiest battle of the Civil War was fought outside the sleepy Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg. In The Last Brother the story of one small boy is told amidst the dramatic events of those early days of July. Though he is only 11 years old, Gabe is a bugler in the Union Army. He takes his responsibility very seriously; after all, there are over 60 different battle calls for buglers to learn. But what is even more important to Gabe is watching over his older brother Davy who, as a foot soldier, is right in the thick of the fighting. Two of Gabe's older brothers have already perished, and he is not willing to lose the only one he has left. During those long days, Gabe meets another young bugler -- one who fights for the other side. Suddenly, what was so definite and clear has become complicated by friendship and compassion. Does one have to choose between service to country, to kin or to a friend? As the cannons fire and the battle rages on, Gabe must do his duty while searching for a way to honor all that he holds dear.Trinka Hakes Noble is the noted author of numerous award-winning picture books, including The Scarlet Stockings Spy, the ever-popular Jimmy's Boa series and Meanwhile Back at the Ranch (both featured on "Reading Rainbow"). Her many awards include ALA Notable Children's Book, Booklist Children's Editors' Choice, IRA-CBC Children's Choice, Learning: The Year's Ten Best, and several Junior Literary Guild Selections. Trinka makes her home in Bernardsville, New Jersey. Robert Papp's award-winning artwork includes hundreds of illustrations for major publishers across the United States, and his first children's book, The Scarlet Stockings Spy was named an IRATeacher's Choice in 2005. Robert lives in historic Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Gr 3-6 This Civil War story resonates with courage and fear, love and loyalty. Eleven-year-old Gabriel has followed his 16-year-old brother Davy to war after their older brothers were killed fighting. As a bugler for the Union Army, Gabe has the important job of blowing orders to the troops. On the day before the Battle of Gettysburg, he is afraid and seeks comfort at a nearby creek. As he quietly practices his bugle calls, he is surprised to hear them answered with the reverse commands. He meets Orlee, a young Confederate bugler who is fishing in the stream. The boys share an interlude that has nothing to do with the imminent battle and they part, hoping to meet again. The next day, as Gabes regiment marches into the fray, he must figure out a way to save Davy from danger in the front lines and to honor his new friendship. The well-rendered paintings are hauntingly detailed and place readers right in the action. They realistically convey the setting, the intensity of battle, and the emotions of the characters. This book puts a human face on one of our countrys bloodiest confrontations and will spark discussion about the Civil War and about how people can be friends even if they have different beliefs."Christine Markley, Washington Elementary School, Barto, PA" Copyright 2006 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
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