“Every time you see a flash, you know a shell may have taken a life or many lives,” said Clara Barton
In Mary Pope Osborne’s twenty-second book in the series, The Magic Treehouse, Civil War on Sunday tells the story of Jack and Annie in their adventure through time. This historical fiction novel features Jack and Annie’s journey through time to the Civil War era. Jack and Annie must travel through time to find “something to follow for Morgan, the enchantress who owns the Magic Tree House. Going through the battlefields during the Civil War, Jack and Annie see the horrors behind war, and Jack learns that, “war is not a game,” despite what he thought earlier.
Lessons and themes present in this book include cooperation, teamwork, the importance of being a sibling, and the American Civil War and its historic figures. Being on the battlefield with Annie and Jack shows how soldiers were hurt and injured and the heroic leaders, such as Clara Barton, who helped nurse the soldiers back to health. Annie, Jack, and Clara must all work together to bring the wounded back to the campsite hospital, and also bring water to the soldiers on the battlefield to prevent dehydration. Working alongside Clara Barton and fictionally bringing her to life gives students a glimpse of what real-life Civil War heroes did in order to help the war effort. Jack and Annie must work together to keep one another safe. When Jack is afraid, Annie helps him by telling him that they must help save these soldiers’ lives.
Mary Pope Osborne creates a children’s thriller with facts about the conditions of soldiers and African Americans during the Civil War. Filled with action, bravery, and insight about what a battlefield and hospital would look like during the Civil War, Jack and Annie look for the “something to follow” that Morgan asked them for. Will they find it? Will Jack find courage in himself during this challenging time? This action-filled story will appeal to both boys and girls who like adventure stories with a twist.
Reviewed by: Grace Rowan