The Eternal Soldier: The True Story of How a Dog Became a Civil War Hero

Little Bee. May 2019. 40p. sources. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781499808636.
Gr 1-3–Kimmel presents the story of Sallie, a bull terrier puppy found in a basket by a Union soldier during the Civil War. Sallie eventually became a member of the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, earning the respect and love of the soldiers as well as President Lincoln. She played an even more pivotal role during the Battle of Gettysburg when despite the danger, she stayed and watched over wounded members of the infantry. After this act of bravery, she became a fixture during the war even after she passed away. More than 25 years later, the remaining members of the 11th erected a commemorative statue that people still visit today. The illustrations evoke the texture of a soft and sweet dog, ready to jump off the page as if readers’ could pat Sallie through the pages. The sharp attention to detail on the uniforms and daily goings-on breathes life into Sallie and the 11th’s story. The details are more subdued during the battle scenes and while the color change shows the severity of the situation, it is an appropriate introduction to the Civil War for young elementary readers. The book features a detailed author’s note that provides more insight as to how Sallie got her name and more details about her life as a Union soldier dog.
VERDICT A wonderful addition to children’s nonfiction collections where war stories and animals are popular

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