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My Dear Phebe (A Young Adult Historical Adventure) [Paperback]

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Item description for My Dear Phebe (A Young Adult Historical Adventure) by Elaine Smith Janet...

A war was coming! Ten-year-old Phebe Irvine was just plain scared. It was all anyone talked about. But war didn't really mean much to Phebe; it was something a long ways away from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The letters from her Uncle James, who lived near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, brought it much closer to home. And then her best friend, Sarah Tuttle, had to say goodbye to her father, who left to join the army. In MY DEAR PHEBE, children learn how war affects everyone, even if there were no battles nearby. Phebe learns how to deal with the fears, anxieties and pain caused by the war, as well as having personal problems in her own family. In the face of whatever terrors face today's youth, they will learn to cope with them by visiting another war, the Civil War, enabling them to better handle today's problems and threats. MY DEAR PHEBE is based on the actual letters Phebe Irvine received from her Uncle James. A "must read" for young adults everywhere, as well as an excellent source book for teachers, libraries and parents.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   108
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 21" Width: 14.4" Height: 0.3"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 29, 2007
Publisher   Star Publish
ISBN  1932993738  
ISBN13  9781932993738  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical

Reviews - What do customers think about My Dear Phebe (A Young Adult Historical Adventure)?

The Heart of a War - Bless the Children  Mar 9, 2007
My Dear Phebe presents war through the eyes of an innocent child pressed all too soon to understand and live in its after math. My Dear Phebe may be a child's view of the Civil War, but it makes a very loud statement about our children, what they see and hear and come to internalize and live after their innocence is stolen and war becomes all too real--no matter which war it is.

While the language is not politically correct for this day and age in My Dear Phebe it is honest and simple. The language tells as much of the story as the linguistic thread itself. It isn't just about the Civil War, but war itself.

It isn't a story about a family in Michigan or North verses South. It is about people, and especially children. What we teach our children intentionally or as they eaves drop on our lives.

I am reminded of a phrase that has been around nearly as long as war. John Heywood (1546) said, and this has been translated to a more modern linguistic truth, "Little pitchers have big ears, children hear and understand more than you think they do."

While My Dear Phebe is a story about a war torn country, it begs the reader to return to that childhood that loved and accepted everyone for who they were not what label someone had put on them.
"The color of their skin doesn't change the color of their hearts..." Says Parson Johnson introducing a man of color, [Negro, an African America, or a black man] and his family to a congregation divided by their prejudices without knowledge or benefit of knowing first hand what they are against. (Does the name used create an image in your mind -- or does it speak all the same to you?)

This is not just about the Civil War--though the setting is about life during the Civil War. It is not totally about war, but the people in it. It is not about just a certain people but it is instead about children growing up in a country they thought was all about love and laughter when they discover war--and over hear the atrocities. When they hear stories of fields of bodies covered in blood, they think of the pain of the last scrape or cut they had received and associate bigger pain with all that blood. They can't imagine living without a limb, or an eye--but soldiers are being maimed and expected to live that way. Families are being torn apart, deprived of their male support, bread winner, strong back, defender of their life and rights.

"Our life is a Vapor," Uncle J.W. Irvine writes to Phoebe.

When Phoebe is worried that "If you say things too loud they might just come true," she was afraid of the death of loved ones, but also of allowing love to touch her for fear it would be ripped away. A child who heard the vagrancies of adults discussing mundane and sometimes horrific things.

Janet Elaine Smith tells a complex story in a language that simplifies it, though it is not a simple story told in a simplistic way. It is a very deep and moving story told with all the warmth of a letter from a dear uncle far removed from the arms of family. It shows the reader a community that is wrapped together across a nation by families, by love, by a sense of pride and heritage separated by war and tragedy that also draws them together.

I laughed, I cried and I read knowing that a Janet Elaine Smith book always has a happy, if not happily every after, ending. We still have war--but we also still share love, community, family and understanding. A highly recommended read for young and old alike. You'll want to read it as a family. It will renew your faith in mankind.
Absolutely relevant for today  Aug 27, 2005
Twelve-year-old Phebe Irvine lives in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, which is still frontier country when the Civil War begins. She thinks the war should be far enough away to give her family and their community little trouble, but she soon finds out that's not the case. The family of her best friend and neighbor, Sarah Tuttle, loses husband and father Caleb because he thinks it right to volunteer. Phebe promises to help Sarah, whose mother has nine children at home, any way she can; and Phebe's parents encourage her to do this, even though her only sibling - baby brother Benjamin - grows sicker every day. That's one reason why Phebe's mother has no time to answer letters from Uncle James, who lives a lot closer to the fighting in Pennsylania. So Phebe offers to take over the job of corresponding with Uncle James, and soon finds herself enjoying their exchanges. She confides in him about things she doesn't dare mention to those around her in Sault Ste. Marie, and he supplies news about the war.

As local men die and word of their loss reaches home, the first news from Caleb Tuttle arrives in a different and totally unexpected form: a Negro family just off the underground railroad. The little frontier settlement has to deal with five living, breathing examples of why their absent men are fighting, and Phebe has to grow up even faster than she's already begun to when tragedy strikes at home and a letter arrives from the front.

This fact-based YA novel looks at a much-described period in U.S. history from a little-used viewpoint, that of a young girl on the home front. It mixes and contrasts matter-of-fact daily life (which of course had to go on) with war's horrific events, and makes the reader feel the ebb and flow of Phebe's spirits right along with her. I highly recommend it for readers of all ages. It's realistic without being pessimistic, and its hopeful message is absolutely relevant for today.
Kids and Adults will enjoy!  Jun 25, 2005
Ten-year-old Phebe Irvine lives in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan during the Civil War. When the story opens, the war hadn't yet really affected the folks as far north as Michigan. But it's beginning to impact the community now as Caleb Tuttle, husband, father and neighbor, enlists to fight for the Union against the Confederacy.

Phebe doesn't really understand much of what the war means. All she knows is it's terrifying to think of men dying so far away from home. And when Caleb leaves his family, Phebe pitches in to help Mrs. Tuttle, the interesting eldest son Josiah, and Sarah, her best friend, with both the farm work and the other Tuttle children. This help is a sacrifice for Phebe's family because her infant brother, Benjamin is very ill.

Just when the Tuttle family fears that Caleb died in the war (because they haven't heard from him since he left home), a message arrives in the form of an escaped slave, Grady. Grady, his wife Maisie and their three children traveled north from Tennessee on the underground railroad with a map from Caleb and permission to stay at the Tuttle farm for the duration of the war.

During the war Phebe decides that she can contribute to the cause by writing letters to soldiers who are family and friends. Thus begins exchanges that provide support, give much-needed information, and reunites a family.

There are moments of faith that wind its way between instances of tragic death, new-found freedom, a pregnancy, budding friendship and young love in Janet Elaine Smith's young adult novel My Dear Phebe. It's an enlightening and historical look at the turmoil of the Civil War. Included at the end are the actual letters between the real Phebe and soldiers in the war. I enjoyed this book a great deal and your young adult will, too.
Fun for adults and children.  Sep 9, 2003
So many times, Civil War books are written about the soldiers who fought. It was so refreshing to read about the families that were left behind. Mrs. Smith delivers a slice of Americana in her book. I really enjoyed reading it and it was well worth my time. Adults as well as children, will enjoy this story.

My Dear Phebe is about two young girls and the hardships they faced during the Civil War. Even though the war was so far away, it affected them in many different ways. The different families stuck together and helped one another. Through thick and thin, they all made it together, with love.

My Dear Janet! What a marvelous book!  Feb 22, 2003
"When rumors of an impending war disturb us and our children, it's comforting to read books about our past, to look back and remember other times when children faced such troubled times, and survived them honorably. Janet Elaine Smith's book, "My Dear Phebe" is just such a book. Using family history and actual letters as references, Ms. Smith brings the Civil War back to life. For ten-year-old Phebe and her best friend Sarah, the war seems far away. They soon discover that although the actual battles may be fought many miles away from their little Michigan settlement, changes still come to their town, friends, and families. In "My Dear Phebe", Ms Smith shows how Phebe discovers for herself that the values that make us good and caring people are just as valid in troubled times as they are in good times. I heartily recommend "My Dear Phebe" by Janet Elaine Smith, as a book to open the door to discussions with children, or simply to get lost in a great read."

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