cover image Casey Over There

Casey Over There

Staton Rabin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-15-253186-7

Steeped in nostalgia, this affecting story of a boy's love for his brother illuminates both an era and a serious subject: war. Seven-year-old Aubrey's brother, Casey, has gone overseas to fight in the Great War. Aubrey misses his brother and the two exchange letters, but after a while Casey's letters stop coming. Concerned, Aubrey decides to go right to the top, and writes to Uncle Sam. His poignant query--``Are you done with him yet?''--garners a surprising reply, not from Uncle Sam, but from President Woodrow Wilson himself. By juxtaposing scenes of everyday life in Brooklyn (Aubrey flattening pennies under a trolley's wheels, playing kick the can, visiting Coney Island) with scenes of Casey's ordeal (shaving in a muddy foxhole, crawling across no-man's-land into enemy fire), Rabin quietly allows readers to draw their own conclusions about the hardships of war. Her gentle, straightforward prose is superbly matched by debut illustrator Shed's luminous, impressionistic gouaches. Bathed in a golden glow, his scenes intensify the tale's atmospheric setting and underscore the warmth exuded by Aubrey's close-knit family. An excellent picture-book introduction to the topic of war and its effect on families. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)