From School Library Journal
Grade 5-7-Ex-slave Abraham Small is now a freeman living in Gettysburg, PA. On the day before the battle, while picnicking with his employer's young daughter, he meets Lamar Cooper, a 16-year-old Confederate soldier. Lamar is a poor farmer, not a slave owner, and Abraham is the first black man he has ever met. Abraham, with dark memories of his captivity, is wary of the young man. Still, he shares his picnic with him. This encounter convinces Abraham that he should be fighting for the Union and against slavery, and he volunteers as an ambulance driver. Later, during the battle, he happens upon the wounded Lamar and takes him to a field hospital. The nature of war and animosity are simply explored in a manner that will cause young readers to think about such issues themselves. To sophisticated readers, Abraham might seem almost too eloquent and too noble, and the secondary characters are only sketchily drawn. The final scenes, wherein Abraham escorts Abraham Lincoln around the battlefield, are somewhat contrived, although they portray the president in a human, touching way. For young readers struggling to understand the complex topic of the Civil War, this quiet novel will yield thought-provoking ideas and humanize that terrible conflict.