HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Did You Carry the Flag Today, Charley?
Author: Rebecca Caudill
Illustrator: Nancy Grossman
Publisher: Yearling, republished 1988
ISBN-13: 978-0805012019 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 080501201X Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0440400929 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0440400929 Paperback
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 6 – 9
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Caudill, Rebecca. Did You Carry the Flag Today, Charley? (Published in 1966 by Holt Rinehart and Winston Inc., 383 Madison Ave., New York City, NY 10017). Charley Cornett, who is “four a goin’ on five,” lives with his father, whose back had been hurt in a coal mine; mother; four brothers—Claude, Jim, Jack, and John; and five sisters—Connie, Amy, Dottie, Mary, and Betsy in a house high on a mountainside in the Appalachians. The other kids have all been to school, so now it’s Charley’s turn to go to Little School for four and five year olds for six weeks during the summer at Raccoon Hollow. His brothers and sisters explain to him that the highest honor awarded each day for a child who has been very good at the Little School is being chosen to “carry the flag” and lead the line to the school bus. However, while Charley loves school, he doesn’t seem to be the ideal candidate for such a distinction.
You see, Charley tends to be a rambunctious, inquisitive, and somewhat stubborn boy who gets himself into a fair amount of mischief. Nearly every day, something seems to happen to Charley that causes a problem. And every day when he gets home, his family asks him, “Did you carry the flag today, Charley?” Will it ever be Charley’s turn to carry the flag? Can he even make it through Little School? Reading this book by Newbery Honor–winning author Rebecca Caudill with its cute pencil drawings by Nancy Grossman which capture the charm and humorous spirit of the story, children will identify with Charley’s school triumphs and woes and even cheer for him to carry the flag.
Charley’s not a “bad kid,” and he’s not a hidden genius. He’s just a normal little boy. This book will give parents and children the opportunity to talk about cultural changes, living conditions, work, family, school, and transportation as well as how we should treat other people. They can also discuss why some things Charley did were not appropriate, while others were not wrong or inappropriate but just a different way of interpreting things. Anyone who’s had experience with little boys ages 4-6 knows that each one has his own way of perceiving things.
Did You Carry the Flag Today, Charley? is a perfect read-aloud book to keep wiggly youngsters transfixed on the story as they learn about the power of education done with heart and understanding.