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When the Sergeant Came Marching Home

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About the Author

Don Lemna, raised on the American prairies, lives in Medicine Hat, Canada. When the Sergeant Came Marching Home was named a VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers title. In a starred review, Booklist called it "timeless," and Kirkus Reviews said it was "full of heart and more than a few laugh-aloud moments."


Gr 4-6-Ten-year-old Donald is miserable now that his father, the Sergeant, has returned home from World War II and moved the family to a farm in rural Montana, miles away from Wistola. Horrified at the lack of modern conveniences (their ramshackle house has neither electricity nor indoor plumbing) and angry at the Sergeant, Donald secretly plans to run away to Hollywood. However, as time passes, he and his younger brother begin to enjoy country living, riding their elderly horse, skating and playing hockey on a neighbor's frozen slough, romping with their new mutt, and making friends at their one-room schoolhouse. The boys also demonstrate their profound gift for imagination in the games they play outdoors. Donald's first-person narration is filled with humor and wit. Lemna conveys a true sense of farm life and all its difficulties, with each chapter describing the brothers' various adventures. The mood is light and playful throughout, with appropriately serious moments marking the maturity that Donald gains, particularly in his attitude toward his father. The narrative is simple, with a few choice vocabulary words that can be explored through language lessons. The historical references also lend an opportunity for curriculum connections; the book provides an accessible look at post-World War II American life and can initiate study of cultural differences between that era and our 21st-century lives. Well written and entertaining.-Bethany A. Lafferty, Las Vegas-Clark County Library, NV Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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