Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: Civil War on Sunday

Civil War on Sunday by Mary Pope Osborne

This book is the 21st book in the Magic Tree House Series. In the series, Jack and Annie go on many adventures through time through the magic tree house. There are four or five books in a set and in that set, the kids have different missions for their trips. In this book, Jack and Annie must go on a mission to find a special kind of writing that you can follow. They travel back to the American Civil War. The kids meet wounded soldiers and find Clara Barton's hospital where they volunteer to help out.

The story is clearly fiction, but Jack carries around a book on the Civil War as well as his own notebook. Throughout the story, whenever he has a question about something that is going on, there is a passage from the book included. He also writes notes in his notebook. He writes the important things, so I think that would help emphasize to students what is important to remember about the Civil War.

In the picture above you can see that he read a passage about the Civil War on the top of page 12. And below it is an excerpt from his notebook where he wrote the years of the Civil War as well as the color of uniforms each side wore.

At the end of the book, there is a "Facts for You and Jack" page which provides more details about the Civil War. There is a paragraph about Clara Barton and how she established the Red Cross as well as about the Drummer Boys that were mentioned in the book.

I think this book is a great resource for teachers to use when they are teaching about the Civil War. In the year after I graduated college, I was a substitute IA in Fairfax County Public Schools (only because they already had too many substitute teachers!). So that meant that I got to work in kindergarten classrooms and special education classrooms. I worked with students with autism, asperger's syndrome, physical handicaps, emotional disabilities, learning disabilities, and I also spent some time working with a reading specialist. Usually a substitute is only with a class for one day, but the three days before Thanksgiving Break, I worked with a fourth grade class and I got to take students out of class to read this book as a group. I think it was really effective for them and they loved reading them!

There are a lot of fun activities, games, and information about the series on the Magic Tree House website. On the website, you can find an awesome passport for students. They can take a short quiz about the book they just read and get a stamp for their passport!

The book mentions the song Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground written in 1861 by Walter Kittredge. Check it out below! (This version is a little different than the lyrics that are included in the book, but it's still interesting to hear.)

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