HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Rebel Raiders
Author: Lisa Trimble Actor
Illustrator: Hazel Mitchell
Publisher: Wasteland Press, 2013
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Actor, Lisa Trimble. Rebel Raiders (published in 2013 by Wasteland Press, Shelbyville, KY). It is 1863, and ten, almost eleven, year old Cordelia Dunbar, known as Dill, lives on a farm in Jackson County outside the town of Jackson with her father Alexander, mother Susannah, sixteen year old brother James (Jim), and dog Nellie. However, the Civil War is going on, and her father is away fighting with the Union Army in Vicksburg, MS. At the hillside burial of her Uncle Swinge (Elmer Wellington), who was killed in battle, Dill learns that General John Hunt Morgan and his Rebel cavalry are headed straight for Jackson. Jim must leave to help defend the town, and Ma contracts diphtheria, so Dill has to protect the farm all by herself. After hiding all the family’s valuables, including Jim’s prize horse Buck, she sees 52 Confederate soldiers under Lt. Joshua Crumm riding up to her house.
After learning that General Morgan has captured all the town’s defenders, including Jim, and threatened to kill them, Dill makes a bargain to cook breakfast for all the men if they will leave the farm unharmed and not steal her brother’s prized horse. But can Dill trust the enemy to keep their end of the bargain? What will happen to Jim? And what can Dill do when Lt. Crumm starts to ride off on Buck? Rebel Raiders is based on the true tale of how author Lisa Trimble Actor’s great, great aunt Cordelia.cooked breakfast for the enemy soldiers. It demonstrates a lot of research not only into her own family’s history but also into the 1863 foray of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan and his cavalry through Southern Indiana and Ohio.
I picked this book up in southern Indiana and knowing of Morgan’s battle with home forces at Corydon, IN, assumed that it was set in that state, but, no, the action takes place near Jackson, OH, not far from my home territory. There are a few uses of the euphemism “darn” and one instance of the phrase “Good Lord” as an exclamation, as well as a passing reference to dancing, but otherwise the book is a beautifully written, dramatic, heart-warming story that provides a thought-provoking introduction to Civil War history for young readers. Of course, Dill’s courage and resourcefulness are commendable, but there are also lessons about not hating the enemy and the importance of freedom. It was published during the 150th anniversary of Morgan’s Raid and shows the human side of the war with its effects on the lives of everyday people of that time–on both sides.