Review! Soldier Song by Debbie Levy

image001Soldier Song: A True Story of the Civil War
Written by Debbie Levy
Illustrated by Gilbert Ford
80 pages – ages 8+
Published by Disney-Hyperion on February 7, 2017 (Today!)

Synopsis from the Publisher- Amid the fearsome battles of the Civil War, both Union and Confederate soldiers were urged onward by song.

There were songs to wake them up and songs to call them to bed,
Songs to ready them for battle and to signal their retreat,
Songs to tell them that their side was right, and the other wrong . . .

And there was one song that reminded them all of what they hoped to return to after the war.

Defeated in the battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, the Union soldiers retreated across the river. There, a new battle emerged as both armies volleyed competing songs back and forth. With the Christmas season upon them, however, Federals and Confederates longed for the same thing. As the notes of “Home, Sweet Home” rose up from both sides, they found common ground for one night.

Interwoven with soldiers’ letters and journal entries, this is a true story of duty and heartbreak, of loyalty and enemies, and of the uniting power of music. Debbie Levy’s moving text and Gilbert Ford’s vibrant, layered illustrations come together to create an unforgettable tale of American history.

What I Thought- I think that this is a fantabulous book! It captures both the feelings of horror in the American Civil War, but also the softer side of it as well. Levy has a great writing style, writing things in a way that younger kids can understand; putting in enough details for a well-rounded story. It is an amazing glimpse into a true story from the American Civil War. Ford’s illustrations are a marvelous pair to the text, including detail, but keeping it whimsical enough to have kids want to keep looking at it. The illustration evoke emotions, tying the reader to the story.


This book is a perfect parallel between the good and bad in life. The story itself is great, and is about one of those moments that you love to take part in; where everyone is on the same side. The fact that they played together was a marvelous feat, and makes for a great story. I also really like that there is additional information in the back of the book with historical info, the song “Home, Sweet Home”, and other details! I love this book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Categories: Age 6-9

10 replies

  1. I always appreciate your enthusiasm for the books you read, Erik. Good for you! This book sounds like a painless way to learn some history. And isn’t it nice to have those moments where everyone is on the same side? We could use one of those moments now.

  2. Interesting review. Having everyone on the same side during the Civil War would have been a monstrously large feat. The cover is awesome.

  3. What an interesting book! In Hamilton, Lin Manuel refers to songs sung during the American Revolution. Great review, Erik!

  4. I love this! It jumped right out of my inbox at me, lol. Reminds me of the story of the 1914 Christmas Truce during WWI where the troops on both sides put down their weapons, sang carols together, exchanged gift, played games, etc. Back in the 90’s, Garth Brooks wrote a beautiful song about it called Belleau Wood, which I still love, though the truce didn’t actually happen at Belleau Wood. I’m going to check this one out!

    • I know! It reminded me of that too! I find it a little funny that there were barbers on both sides giving haircuts – I don’t know why, but I do. Although I also think it was sad that the officers on both sides forbid that from ever happening again.

  5. Now this has to be a very special book. A fab review as always.

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