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Charley Skedaddle: Historical Fiction for Teens: Illustrated Edition

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Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction Charley leaves the gangs of New York City to join the Union army at 12 years old. He is anxious to have the opportunity to avenge his brother who died at the battle of Gettysburg. After months of training to become a drummer boy, he finally sees his first battle in the horrid Wilderness of Virginia. When he deserts h Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction Charley leaves the gangs of New York City to join the Union army at 12 years old. He is anxious to have the opportunity to avenge his brother who died at the battle of Gettysburg. After months of training to become a drummer boy, he finally sees his first battle in the horrid Wilderness of Virginia. When he deserts his company and runs through the terrifying woods filled with the dead soldiers of Confederate and Union soldiers alike, he has no idea how he'll survive the journey to the West on his own. Then he meets Granny Jerusha Bent, who takes him in as little more than a prisoner. He's not quite sure what will become of his life… “In this powerful story, based on real-life Civil War records and memoirs, young Yankee deserter Charley Quinn learns that his flight from his first battle doesn't brand him a life-long coward. Rich detail…readers will love this rousing epic.” Kirkus Reviews. “Fighting is important to Charley Quinn, 12, a street-tough New York Bowery Boy who runs away from his Irish-Catholic home to join the Union forces in Virginia. But war proves much more horrible than he'd thought so terrible, in fact, that he deserts, giving himself the disparaging name “Skedaddle.” Afterward, Charley takes refuge in the mountains with Granny Bent, a midwife with her own secret loyalties. This well-crafted, somewhat episodic novel makes the point that fighting brings honor, and cowardice, shame. The settings from the Bowery, to the battlefield, to Granny's cabin are quite powerful. These, along with Charley's disillusionment and change, give this novel depth and make it one of Beatty's best.” PUBLISHERS WEEKLY


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Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction Charley leaves the gangs of New York City to join the Union army at 12 years old. He is anxious to have the opportunity to avenge his brother who died at the battle of Gettysburg. After months of training to become a drummer boy, he finally sees his first battle in the horrid Wilderness of Virginia. When he deserts h Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction Charley leaves the gangs of New York City to join the Union army at 12 years old. He is anxious to have the opportunity to avenge his brother who died at the battle of Gettysburg. After months of training to become a drummer boy, he finally sees his first battle in the horrid Wilderness of Virginia. When he deserts his company and runs through the terrifying woods filled with the dead soldiers of Confederate and Union soldiers alike, he has no idea how he'll survive the journey to the West on his own. Then he meets Granny Jerusha Bent, who takes him in as little more than a prisoner. He's not quite sure what will become of his life… “In this powerful story, based on real-life Civil War records and memoirs, young Yankee deserter Charley Quinn learns that his flight from his first battle doesn't brand him a life-long coward. Rich detail…readers will love this rousing epic.” Kirkus Reviews. “Fighting is important to Charley Quinn, 12, a street-tough New York Bowery Boy who runs away from his Irish-Catholic home to join the Union forces in Virginia. But war proves much more horrible than he'd thought so terrible, in fact, that he deserts, giving himself the disparaging name “Skedaddle.” Afterward, Charley takes refuge in the mountains with Granny Bent, a midwife with her own secret loyalties. This well-crafted, somewhat episodic novel makes the point that fighting brings honor, and cowardice, shame. The settings from the Bowery, to the battlefield, to Granny's cabin are quite powerful. These, along with Charley's disillusionment and change, give this novel depth and make it one of Beatty's best.” PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

30 review for Charley Skedaddle: Historical Fiction for Teens: Illustrated Edition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    It's about a boy named Charley. He goes to the army to be a drummer boy or a bugler. At a confederate base he meats a man named Jem. When a war comes up Charley shots a man but he's not aloud to. He runs away because he shot the man.While running away he gets captured by a union soldier. He manages to run away. Eventually Charley meats a woman named Grandma Beth. He works with her as if she was his actual mom. When someone comes to the house Grandma Beth locks up Charley in the chicken coop. One It's about a boy named Charley. He goes to the army to be a drummer boy or a bugler. At a confederate base he meats a man named Jem. When a war comes up Charley shots a man but he's not aloud to. He runs away because he shot the man.While running away he gets captured by a union soldier. He manages to run away. Eventually Charley meats a woman named Grandma Beth. He works with her as if she was his actual mom. When someone comes to the house Grandma Beth locks up Charley in the chicken coop. One day a girl comes and asks Grandma Beth to come with her because the girl's sister was pregnant. 2 days pass and Grandma beth doesn't come back. So Charley grabs the rifle and goes outside. He turns around and a painter (mountain lion) jumps down off the roof and attacks Charley. Charley ends up shooting the mountain lion. Charley finds Grandma Beth in a ditch with her mule Canaan. When Charley, Grandma Beth and Canaan get home Charley helps heal Grandma Beth's wounds. The next day Charley leaves because the war coming up.

  2. 4 out of 5

    M&rcu$ #u+chin$

    This book really teaches people about the true story behind the Civil War. the author wrote it so that it actually took you to the front lines of the war. Charlie became a POW (Prisoner of War for you civilians)and Patricia told the reader what the enemy did the POW's and people MIA (Missing in Action). This book really teaches people about the true story behind the Civil War. the author wrote it so that it actually took you to the front lines of the war. Charlie became a POW (Prisoner of War for you civilians)and Patricia told the reader what the enemy did the POW's and people MIA (Missing in Action).

  3. 4 out of 5

    02JulianB

    Charley skadaddle is a really heart touching book about young charley quinn who is in civil war i think this book is very touchy and sad but also it is about courage of a young civilian who has the most courage ive ever heard i never knew a book could just pop out and hit you like this one did.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Charley Skedaddle is a really good book that I am reading, and I would of never found it without my tescher!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Desperate to leave New York and the tyrannical reign of his soon to be brother-in-law, Charley Quinn joins a parade of Union soldiers on their way to shipping out. Charley is determined to avenge his brother's death, killed in the battle of Gettysburg. When he reaches Culpepper, he is taken on as a drummer boy and trained by Silas, who is anxious to put his drumming days behind him and enlist as a soldier. But when the battle is upon them, Charley finds the realities of war too intense and runs Desperate to leave New York and the tyrannical reign of his soon to be brother-in-law, Charley Quinn joins a parade of Union soldiers on their way to shipping out. Charley is determined to avenge his brother's death, killed in the battle of Gettysburg. When he reaches Culpepper, he is taken on as a drummer boy and trained by Silas, who is anxious to put his drumming days behind him and enlist as a soldier. But when the battle is upon them, Charley finds the realities of war too intense and runs away. Guilt-ridden, he finds himself in the mountains of Virginia. One night, when he attempts to get some eggs from a hen house, he meets up with Jerusha Bent and her pistol. Jerusha takes him in and requires him to work for her. At first, Charley is treated more or less as a prisoner, but the two come to rely on each other and a bond begins to form. Interesting time period details.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amy Meyers

    Last third was better than the first half, so I gave it a 3 instead of a 2. Decent historical fiction. Shows the horrors of the Civil War and the wickedness of men, and Charley shows courage at the end, so that's good. But there are lots of better books for boys with courageous, heroic characters, and there are lots of better historical fiction or living history books for the Civil War. This drummer boy book was at the very end of the Civil War, after Gettysburg, however, whereas the other drumm Last third was better than the first half, so I gave it a 3 instead of a 2. Decent historical fiction. Shows the horrors of the Civil War and the wickedness of men, and Charley shows courage at the end, so that's good. But there are lots of better books for boys with courageous, heroic characters, and there are lots of better historical fiction or living history books for the Civil War. This drummer boy book was at the very end of the Civil War, after Gettysburg, however, whereas the other drummer boy book I read was in the very beginning.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mary L.

    What is courage? What is it that makes you a coward? This book is for middle school age children but once I started reading I couldn't stand to put it down, as you can tell by my starting and ending dates. Charley thought he was brave but at age 12 he wasn't prepared for war (civil) and the horrors of the Wilderness. A drummer boy who leaves his post is a deserter just the same as a soldier. Charley runs and becomes Charley Skedaddle. How he finds courage after this is the main part of the story What is courage? What is it that makes you a coward? This book is for middle school age children but once I started reading I couldn't stand to put it down, as you can tell by my starting and ending dates. Charley thought he was brave but at age 12 he wasn't prepared for war (civil) and the horrors of the Wilderness. A drummer boy who leaves his post is a deserter just the same as a soldier. Charley runs and becomes Charley Skedaddle. How he finds courage after this is the main part of the story. I highly recommend this book!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    If no stars were an option, I would have done that. This was forced upon me in grade school and I still remember how much I hated it. It's just boring historical fiction that the author didn't put much effort into because they were writing for kids. Main character is blah and there's no reason to care about him. If no stars were an option, I would have done that. This was forced upon me in grade school and I still remember how much I hated it. It's just boring historical fiction that the author didn't put much effort into because they were writing for kids. Main character is blah and there's no reason to care about him.

  9. 4 out of 5

    roxi Net

    This is one of the books that impacted me as a child. 30+ years later, I remembered Charlie's story and purchased the Kindle for nostalgic reasons. In re-reading this book as an adult, I still treasure it! Now that I'm a bit more familiar with the history surrounding the Bowery Boys, Dead Rabbits Gang, and the Civil War, I have more appreciation for this book. This is one of the books that impacted me as a child. 30+ years later, I remembered Charlie's story and purchased the Kindle for nostalgic reasons. In re-reading this book as an adult, I still treasure it! Now that I'm a bit more familiar with the history surrounding the Bowery Boys, Dead Rabbits Gang, and the Civil War, I have more appreciation for this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kyleduke

    I thing the end was a let down and its a good book terns out he was scared at war made some friends and helped he was not a cowed.He helped people in need.He had gotten hurt by the mean men and needed help.It was a sad story and he is so brave and gives his life to Mr Robbins.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kota Ryan

    It is interesting has a lot of information and the story is put through a teenagers eyes and it is cool but boring at some points

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    Meh. Who wants to read about Yankees for one thing? But even without that, this was just painfully mediocre. Historical fiction is not very forgiving and deserves better than this.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tina Hunter

    Preview for 4th graders

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Skipper's GT Cafe

    multiple copies

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jake Flesner

    entertaining

  16. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Ladehoff

    it was a very god book

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kynlea

    amazing

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Charley Skedaddle is a historical fiction book about a 12 year old boy who runs away from his home and his street gang in New York to join the Union army and avenge his brother's death. He ends up joining as a drummer boy but when faced with the death and reality of war and psychological toll of taking another man's life, he runs away, is captured by Confederate soldiers, but then released to run to the mountains out West. He struggles with many different emotions, and the descriptive nature of Charley Skedaddle is a historical fiction book about a 12 year old boy who runs away from his home and his street gang in New York to join the Union army and avenge his brother's death. He ends up joining as a drummer boy but when faced with the death and reality of war and psychological toll of taking another man's life, he runs away, is captured by Confederate soldiers, but then released to run to the mountains out West. He struggles with many different emotions, and the descriptive nature of Patricia Beatty's writing opens up great potential for talking about writing styles, how the author conveys the feelings of their characters, and how they can apply this descriptive style to their own writing. This book also provides so many opportunities for enriching history discussions about the Civil War, drummer boys, young boys (and girls) sneaking into the army and what that was like for them, etc. I think it is ideal for 4th or 5th graders as a read-aloud where they can follow along. This was a WOW book for me because it was really engaging and had dynamic characters that helped deliver valuable messages to the reader, such as the importance of knowing that bravery is doing what's necessary and right even if there's no one watching.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Charley was a New York City Bowery Boy--a gang of young hoodlums who liked to fight. His brother was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. When Charley found out his sister was marrying a young man who did not want Charley around, he impulsively stowawayed with Yankee regiment on the way south to battle. Since he was only twelve, he could not fight, but he could be a drummer boy. In a battle in the Wilderness, his drum was hit with a lead bullet, When he turned, he saw a friend shot dead. He start Charley was a New York City Bowery Boy--a gang of young hoodlums who liked to fight. His brother was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. When Charley found out his sister was marrying a young man who did not want Charley around, he impulsively stowawayed with Yankee regiment on the way south to battle. Since he was only twelve, he could not fight, but he could be a drummer boy. In a battle in the Wilderness, his drum was hit with a lead bullet, When he turned, he saw a friend shot dead. He started running and saw another friend badly injured. He could not stop running. Soldiers around him called him Charley Skedaddle. He was humiliated and ashamed, but he could not go back. Charley founds himself in the mountains of Virginia in the care of a mountain woman (witch??). Charley has only begun to find out what life is really like. I will definitely use this novel with my class this year. I think the students will identify with some of his struggles and the realistic portral of the Civil War era.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hagen S

    charley skedaddle is a story about a boy named charley. he is a member of the bowery boys gang in new York. and the bowery boys worst enemy is the dead rabbits gang. charley quints older brother was a part of the army and he died charley becomes a drummer boy for the army for his brother. his sister is getting married to a guy and charley does not like him so he leaves in to the army. he finds his brothers friend con that went to war with his brother but did not die. charley finds another friend charley skedaddle is a story about a boy named charley. he is a member of the bowery boys gang in new York. and the bowery boys worst enemy is the dead rabbits gang. charley quints older brother was a part of the army and he died charley becomes a drummer boy for the army for his brother. his sister is getting married to a guy and charley does not like him so he leaves in to the army. he finds his brothers friend con that went to war with his brother but did not die. charley finds another friend named jem he is a true friend unlike con. but charley gets scared one day when he is running and playing his drum when someone shoots his drum and his friend jem dies so he grabs a gun and shoots a man and he droppes the gun and runs away he is 12 years old and he had just killed a man. I like this book i think you should read it to it was a good book. but i have read better books than this before there for that is why I only gave it a 3 stare rating.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Charley Skedaddle is a story about a 12 year old boy that wants to join the Union Army to honor his brother that died at the Battle of Gettsyburg. Charley ends up being a drummer in for the same unit his brother was in. After the first battle Charley's dream of being in the army changes drastically. The majority of the story is about him befriending a "mountain" woman living alone. Although Charley is a fictional character the story is based on true Civil War records. Themes in this book include Charley Skedaddle is a story about a 12 year old boy that wants to join the Union Army to honor his brother that died at the Battle of Gettsyburg. Charley ends up being a drummer in for the same unit his brother was in. After the first battle Charley's dream of being in the army changes drastically. The majority of the story is about him befriending a "mountain" woman living alone. Although Charley is a fictional character the story is based on true Civil War records. Themes in this book include friendship, loyalty, perseverance, and overcoming hardships. This book would be a great addition to a unit on the Civil War. It provides children with an account of the Civil War that they could relate to. It received the 1988 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. This was first published in 1987

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Thomasson

    If you didn't read this wayyy back in elementary school, I recommend you do so now! Despite the fact that my teachers kept calling it a "boy's book" I read it and loved it. Charley was a sympathetic character, caught in compelling circumstances, who took refuge in a region and culture in SW Virginia that I am very familiar with. Definitely an easier (and more entertaining) read than "Johnny Tremain", or that truly depressing "My brother Sam is Dead." I take issue with the other reviewers who are If you didn't read this wayyy back in elementary school, I recommend you do so now! Despite the fact that my teachers kept calling it a "boy's book" I read it and loved it. Charley was a sympathetic character, caught in compelling circumstances, who took refuge in a region and culture in SW Virginia that I am very familiar with. Definitely an easier (and more entertaining) read than "Johnny Tremain", or that truly depressing "My brother Sam is Dead." I take issue with the other reviewers who are critical of the author's handling of the issues of desertion--the point is more to engage in critical thinking about the morality of war, dealing with violent trauma, and the surprising kindness of strangers.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    It was interesting to read Charlie Skedaddle and Shades of Grey at the same time for a 5th grade class. This book tells the story of a boy on the Yankee side while the other tells of the South. Interesting life lessons by both. This story I liked the characters, particularly the personalities of Canaan the mule and Malindy the goose- who had realistic natures of each respectively. I loved Jerusha. The story can be somewhat predictable, however it is a story set during the Civil War so we all kno It was interesting to read Charlie Skedaddle and Shades of Grey at the same time for a 5th grade class. This book tells the story of a boy on the Yankee side while the other tells of the South. Interesting life lessons by both. This story I liked the characters, particularly the personalities of Canaan the mule and Malindy the goose- who had realistic natures of each respectively. I loved Jerusha. The story can be somewhat predictable, however it is a story set during the Civil War so we all know the outcome there. I appreciated that the severity of the war was evident, yet as a children's novel it wasn't all the gruesome details.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Swanbender2001

    My children enjoyed this story about a young Bowery boy from New York drawn to the lure of the war after his much-loved brother dies in the battle of Gettysburg. He sneaks aboard a transit and is allowed to stay with his brother’s regiment as the drummer boy. He finds himself in battle and freaks out. When he runs away from the battle after believing he has killed a man, he ends up finding refuge with a hill granny. Their relationship grows into one of caring for each other and he learns many le My children enjoyed this story about a young Bowery boy from New York drawn to the lure of the war after his much-loved brother dies in the battle of Gettysburg. He sneaks aboard a transit and is allowed to stay with his brother’s regiment as the drummer boy. He finds himself in battle and freaks out. When he runs away from the battle after believing he has killed a man, he ends up finding refuge with a hill granny. Their relationship grows into one of caring for each other and he learns many lessons on the farm and develops into a capable individual.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    This was an interesting story, although I found it fascinating that the author was ultimately so ambivalent about the idea of desertion. She makes no real moral judgement and it's up to the reader to determine if a deserter can redeem himself by subsequent actions. It gives a realistic view of Civil War combat, as well as New York City and the Blue Ridge Mtns. during this period. Young readers will learn many interesting things about the time period and maybe decide for themselves whether Charle This was an interesting story, although I found it fascinating that the author was ultimately so ambivalent about the idea of desertion. She makes no real moral judgement and it's up to the reader to determine if a deserter can redeem himself by subsequent actions. It gives a realistic view of Civil War combat, as well as New York City and the Blue Ridge Mtns. during this period. Young readers will learn many interesting things about the time period and maybe decide for themselves whether Charley is a coward or not.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Robb

    Charley Quinn enjoys being a Bowery Boy in New York, but when his sister appears to plan on marrying a man who wants to send Charley away, Charley decides to leave on his own. He runs into a friend of his deceased brother who encourages Charley to join them as they head off to the Civil War. Charley is too young to be a soldier, but they do take him on as a drummer. Charley's romantic notions of war and of avenging his brother's death are shattered when he experiences his first battle and he run Charley Quinn enjoys being a Bowery Boy in New York, but when his sister appears to plan on marrying a man who wants to send Charley away, Charley decides to leave on his own. He runs into a friend of his deceased brother who encourages Charley to join them as they head off to the Civil War. Charley is too young to be a soldier, but they do take him on as a drummer. Charley's romantic notions of war and of avenging his brother's death are shattered when he experiences his first battle and he runs away. He ends up in the hills where an old herb woman takes him in.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Reading this with my kids right now in a Civil War Novel unit that I created. As you will see, I have 6 novels going in my room right now...and the two boys I have in this book really love it. It is set mostly in Virginia, has some decent battle scenes that are not too graphic for 4th graders (10 year-olds), and a few twists and turns to make it interesting. Stinky thing? It is out of print, so it is hard to find copies to buy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I really enjoyed this book about a NY Bowery boy-turned Union drummer boy-turned runaway. The references and allusions to the NY street gangs of the 1800s, the authentic conditions of the civil war battlefields and soldiers' health, combined with several very memorable characters makes for a great read for upper elementary and middle school students, especially boys. The Underground Railroad is also a small but important part of the plot. I really enjoyed this book about a NY Bowery boy-turned Union drummer boy-turned runaway. The references and allusions to the NY street gangs of the 1800s, the authentic conditions of the civil war battlefields and soldiers' health, combined with several very memorable characters makes for a great read for upper elementary and middle school students, especially boys. The Underground Railroad is also a small but important part of the plot.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John

    I began seeking out a few historical fiction type books to read with my 10yo son during our evening sessions, and thought this, along with Mr. Lincoln's Drummer looked promising. The writing was even, and the idea of the story was OK, but as we went through it the plot plodded along without much spark or suspense. About 40 pages in we kind of looked at each other and just closed the book without finishing. Perhaps the timing wasn't right, but just didn't work out for us. I began seeking out a few historical fiction type books to read with my 10yo son during our evening sessions, and thought this, along with Mr. Lincoln's Drummer looked promising. The writing was even, and the idea of the story was OK, but as we went through it the plot plodded along without much spark or suspense. About 40 pages in we kind of looked at each other and just closed the book without finishing. Perhaps the timing wasn't right, but just didn't work out for us.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Another Young Adult book -- this one for some advanced third grade readers I've been working with. Despite the violence in the beginning, I came to like it quite a lot, as it gives a good overview of historical issues from the Civil War period: New York City gangs, the war, slavery, border state geography, Underground Railroad, and so on. I'm not sure that the kids liked it too much, though. Another Young Adult book -- this one for some advanced third grade readers I've been working with. Despite the violence in the beginning, I came to like it quite a lot, as it gives a good overview of historical issues from the Civil War period: New York City gangs, the war, slavery, border state geography, Underground Railroad, and so on. I'm not sure that the kids liked it too much, though.

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