From Slave to Soldier

  • From Slave to Soldier

January 9, 2007
Ages 4-8

Johnny loves his uncle and his master's mule, but he hates being a slave. So when he's asked to join the Union army, he accepts. Being a soldier is hard work, and Johnny wonders if he made the right choice. But when the army needs him, Johnny knows it's up to him to come to the rescue!


From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3-In simple sentences for those who have just begun to read proficiently, Hopkinson tells the story of a slave boy who runs away to join the Union army. Short chapters and detailed watercolors aid the transition to more difficult text, while an exciting plot based on a true Civil War story keeps readers interested. No fighting is portrayed; the story centers on a harrowing trip Johnny makes to take supplies to a team of soldiers. A worthwhile addition to beginning chapter-book collections.-Anne Knickerbocker, formerly at Cedar Brook Elementary School, Houston, TX Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
Gr. 2-4. In an incident drawn from a former slave's narrative and carefully fleshed out, young Johnny runs away to join a company of Union soldiers. Taking up an invitation from a passing bluecoat, he joins troops on the march, and is given a job as a mule team driver. After taking a wagonload of provisions by himself over a dangerous bridge, he's even given a uniform of his own. In her afterword, Hopkinson provides background on her source and notes that not all runaways received such a friendly reception. With that information in hand, Johnny's experiences, as well as his newly found love of freedom, will bring the era and people to life for modern young readers--in much the same way as did Hopkinson's Billy and the Rebel(2005). This Ready-to-Read chapter book is illustrated with freely brushed watercolors. John Peters Copyright © American Library Association.