Monday, September 27, 2010

Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run by Hemphill and Riddleburger

This historical fiction book was on the shelf of recommended readings at my public library, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Stonewall Hinkleman is a twelve-year-old boy whose parents make him participate in Civil War reenactments as a Southern bugler. A mysterious stranger gives him a bugle that ends up sending him back in time to the original Battle of Bull Run. However, a Southern fanatic from modern times also returns to this battle, and he hopes to change the results and help the South win the war. Stonewall's problem is to find a way to stop this man. Along the way, he meets a distant uncle and helps to change his heritage in a more positive way.

The plot is not overly complex, but I enjoyed how the authors wove information about the Civil War and the Battle of Bull Run into it. Readers will learn about landmarks, weapons, famous people, and historic events while reading this book. As I reflect, I think what I like best about the book is the way the authors develop Stonewall's character. He begins the story as a reluctant reenactor and becomes a reluctant Southern soldier in an actual battle. The book is written from a first-person point of view, so readers are able to share Stonewall's thoughts and feelings while he tries to stop the antagonist, impress a girl, overcome his fear, and still save the history of our country.

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