Reviewed by: Nicole
“I don’t know if anybody ever ‘wins’ a war.” Jethro Creighton , a
nine year old farm boy, listens as his older brother Bill explains what war really is. After all of the conflicts about slavery, there is finally war. Families split because of their different opinions of war, there is more labor for the family members who don’t go to war, and families lose each other either in relationships or when someone dies in war. In a small town in Illinois, Jethro becomes affected by the war when all of his brothers leave home to fight for their beliefs. All of his brothers go to fight for the Union except one. Guy Wortman, a man from a neighboring town, is angry that one of Jethro’s brothers fights for the South, so he makes life miserable for his family. On top of that, Jethro’s sister Jenny worries about her true love, Shadrach, who left to fight also. Everyone in Jethro’s family worries about who will survive. During the Civil War, Jethro takes on a lot of responsibility and when Jethro’s cousin runs away from the fighting, he writes to the president to ask for help. Jethro wants to meet him.
Across Five Aprils is filled with knowledge about the Civil War and life during that time. I find history astonishing and I love the Civil War in this book because it shares how the war effected the lives of those who weren’t in the war. The story had a lot of history, but wasn’t as action packed as I would like. In Across Five Aprils, the main character isn’t involved in any of the battles during the war, so there isn’t action there. I did love the build up of the war and wondering who will die and who will survive. I thought multiple family members of Jethro would die, but the author might surprise you. In all, I thought the book had both exciting and boring parts, but you get to learn about life back then.
I think kids who enjoy history, war, and learning about life in the 1800s would like this novel. It is a little hard to keep reading, so 11 and up is a good age. I personally thought it was a little boring, but others might not. I liked this novel even though it was a little boring at times and I think others will like certain parts that stand out to them.