Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Thunder at Gettysburg

Thunder at Gettysburg

Patricia Lee Gauch
Illustrator:   Stephen Gammell 
Picture Book
For ages 8 to 10
Boyds Mill Press, 2003   ISBN: 978-1590781807

It is July 1st and it has began, the battle that is. Tillie runs up to the attic of her house to try to see what is going on. Below her Tillie can see “swarms” of men dressed in blue and those of the enemy dressed in gray. Though Tillie knows that this war is about important matters, about slavery and protecting the union, for her the battle is about beating the horrible “Rebs” who pillaged and stripped her town, who worked her horse to death. It is about revenge.

At least that is what she feels at first. As the battle rages around her Tillie finds herself having to take care of the wounded. She also sees things that make her realise that perhaps the Union soldiers are not that different from those Rebs in gray. Perhaps, instead, they are boys just like the ones from Gettysburg who went to war not that long ago.

Patricia Lee Gauch describes the first four days of July in 1863 with impeccably chosen words which bring forth images of battle, death, and destruction. Simple pencil drawings perfectly compliment the spare text and bring to life the horrors of war and how, in the end, there are no winner or losers, only survivors, the dead and the injured.

At the back of the book the author adds a note to provide her readers with further information about this historic battle.