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B Is for Battle Cry: A Civil War Alphabet Review by Cindy West

Patricia Bauer
Sleeping Bear Press
310 North Main Street, Suite 300
Chelsea, MI 48118

B Is for Battle Cry: A Civil War Alphabet isn't the first Sleeping Bear Press book I've reviewed, and I hope it won't be the last! Sleeping Bear Press consistently publishes really great books, and B Is for Battle Cry continues that tradition.

If you are planning to study the Civil War or have already done so, this book would make an excellent supplement to your learning. I found that it gives quite a full picture of many facets of the Civil War while using each letter of the alphabet as introduction points.

It is written in a two-tiered format, which means there are two ways you can read through the book. The first tier is simple poetic verse that introduces you to each letter's topic. Reading through this tier doesn't take long and allows for a nice introduction to the concepts. The famous composer Stephen Foster lived during this time period, and the authors have ingeniously structured the first tier to resemble his song Hard Times Come Again No More.

The second tier is much meatier and informative. It takes more time to read this tier, but it will leave you with a deeper understanding of each concept. With 26 letters in the alphabet, you'll learn about 26 insights from the Civil War. Topics include President Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, several battles, popular music, typical food, clothing styles, the Emancipation Proclamation, how non-soldiers lived, women's roles in the war, diseases that were common, and more.

The illustrations are just lovely! They are realistic paintings that give a good glimpse into the realities of the time. The deep hues have a mid-1800s "feel" and allow for a serious tone to the book. In the back, you'll find a glossary of words your children might be unfamiliar with.

The husband and wife behind B Is for Battle Cry make a lovely team. She wrote the book, and he illustrated it --and I believe they have created a wonderful book! Any child between the ages of six and twelve is sure to love it.

Product review by Cindy West, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2009