Friday, May 9, 2014

Stonewall Hinkleman review

Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run
by Michael Hemphill and Sam Riddleburger
Dial Books
April 2009

First line: "All right, let's get the whole name thing out of the way quickly. My name is Stonewall Hinkleman."

Stonewall Hinkleman is tired of being dragged to his parent's Civil War re-enactments every weekend. He'd much rather be curled up at home, eating junk food, and playing with his Game Boy than sleeping in makeshift tents and roughing it without "farby" modern conveniences. His father has drilled into him the importance of respecting history, especially since Great-Great-Uncle Cyrus died in the Civil War. Stonewall sarcastically reminds his dad that Cyrus was shot in the butt and died of infection. Nothing heroic about that.

Stonewall's whining is a bit grating at first. Readers who stick it out for the first two chapters will be rewarded when Stonewall's bugle magically sends him back in time to the real Civil War. As far as time traveling goes, Stonewall says, "I've always hated it in movies when somebody goes back in time and it takes them half of the movie to stop saying, 'I must be dreaming.' No, you know right away. At least, I do."

Freshly arrived at the Battle of Bull Run, Stonewall runs into his ancestor, Cyrus, and soon realizes that staunch modern-day Confederate Mr. Dupree has traveled back as well, hoping to change the course of history. Dupree has carelessly brought his daughter Ashby along with him, whom Stonewall is nursing a small crush on. Cyrus turns out to be much more literate and recklessly brave than Stonewall could have imagined. I appreciated that the authors took care to point out negative aspects such as the scariness of battle, the racism of the day and the greediness of the sutlers without being too overwhelming. Stonewall Jackson's transformation to a modern-day hippie is a bit of a stretch, but anything's possible. This is a satisfyingly fun time-travel adventure. Readers will sense that Stonewall Hinkleman prevails at the end, but it certainly is fun seeing how he gets there.

Compare to:
Bull Run - Paul Fleischman
Charley Skedaddle - Patricia Beatty
With Every Drop of Blood - James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
Jefferson's Sons: A Founding Father's Secret Children - Kimberly B. Bradley

I borrowed this book from the library.

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