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Caught in the Rebel Camp    by Dave Jackson & Neta Jackson order for
Caught in the Rebel Camp
by Dave Jackson
Order:  USA  Can
Bethany, 2003 (2003)

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* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Danny Sims is one of the luckiest boys alive, but he doesn't think so. He is being paid ten cents a day to care for Frederick Douglass' carriage horses. Danny longs to join the Union Army, and fight with the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Infantry, a newly formed Negro branch of the military. Unfortunately for Danny, he is too young and was born with a clubfoot. He lives vicariously through the news in Douglass' newspaper as well as information obtained from others around him. Though he has a job caring for the horses of men who have left to fight, his heart is not in it.

One day, Frederick Douglass takes Danny on the train to Boston. Danny thinks he is in trouble and is being returned to live with his uncle, but Douglass has bigger plans. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, commander of the Fifty-Fourth Infantry, wants Danny to become his orderly, taking care of his uniform and horses. Danny is thrilled and works hard at the job, but loses Shaw's prized horse one day. While out looking for it, he is mistaken for a delivery boy and taken into the Rebel fort. Will Danny get free before the fighting starts? Is the Fifty-Fourth Infantry walking into a trap?

Rich in historical detail, action, and adventure, Caught in the Rebel Camp is sure to please readers between the ages of eight and twelve. The opening page informs the reader of which details are fact and which are fiction. The book concludes with more information about Frederick Douglass as well as recommendations for books and movies to check out for further learning. Reading the book feels like experiencing the Civil War. Danny's character is funny and lively and it is easy to identify with his struggles to fit in. Frederick Douglass is a Christian hero with a fabulous story to tell, which gives a taste of the history of the United States.

Caught in the Rebel Camp is part of the Trailblazer series by Dave and Neta Jackson. Young people looking for a good historical adventure, homeschoolers, or anyone studying the Civil War, will enjoy this look at America's past and its heroes.

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