Friday, May 23, 2014

PPBF: Casey Over There

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick for Memorial Day Weekend.

Casey Over There by Staton Rabin and Greg Shed
Casey Over There
Written by Staton Rabin
Illustrated by Greg Shed
Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994
Ages 7 and up

Historical, Siblings, War

"When Aubrey was seven, his brother Casey joined the army.
"Aubrey thought Uncle Sam was a little like Santa Claus, only skinnier and taller and not so jolly. He made people think of America, the way Santa reminds people of Christmas. If Uncle Sam wanted you, you went."


Aubrey isn't old enough to go to war, but his older brother Casey answers Uncle Sam's call and enlists in the U.S. Army. Casey goes to France to fight in the Great War "over there" as the song says. Meanwhile, Aubrey is "over here" being a typical boy in early 20th Century Brooklyn and faithfully writing letters to his brother in Europe. When no reply comes, Aubrey writes to Uncle Sam asking for Casey's return, but the letter ends up on President Wilson's desk instead.

What I Love:
Casey Over There is a takes a look at life in New York during the war years and gives a glimpse into the hardships of the soldiers in the trenches. The use of letters sprinkled throughout the text makes the story very personal. The author skillfully weaves historical detail into the lives of the boys, and even teaches us a bit about our 28th president. The gentle storyline and young narrator's perspective make this book very appropriate for young readers. It is sure to generate a host of discussions. Greg Shed's nostalgic paintings bring life to the characters whether they are on patrol in no-man's-land or walking the beach at Coney Island.

via Martha Stewart
1. If you have the opportunity, don't miss the U.S. Navy Museum in Washington DC. You won't be disappointed.
2. Use the Fun Guide to visit Coney Island today, or take a nostalgic trip at Coney Island History, or the Coney Island Project.
3. Remember our Honored Dead from those in the UK, to the Medal of Honor recipients, to the little known exploits of African American soldiers during the war.
4. Delve into documents from the Great War from the Library of Congress.
5. Celebrate Memorial Day with a red, white and blue parfait, Star-spangled pie, or patriotic fruit kabobs.
6. Look for these other related Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Another Rabin book with
illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline
Greg Shed illustrated a book
by Douglas Wood
Another look at early NYC

Reviewed by Wendy
Reviewed by Barbara
Reviewed by Patient Dreamer
Check out all the  titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for May 23, 2014, available on Susanna Leonard Hill's excellent blog.


  1. Sounds like a VERY neat story, and fascinating. May have to pick that one up :). Thanks, Joanne! (the other Joanne, of course LOL)

  2. I love that cover. It's a story all by itself! The book sounds like quite a touching tale. A good one for the weekend. Thanks!

    1. It's sweet and clever and thought-provoking. Just what a good book should be! Thanks.

  3. Another perfect choice for this holiday of remembrance. Love the cover. And now I'm yearning to head to the shore!

    1. Can you believe I've never been to Coney Island? But I'll definitely make time for the Jersey Shore again this year. Meanwhile, I'll have to read more books about it!!!

  4. What a warm and inviting cover. Great pick for Memorial Day.

    1. Thanks. You might be interested to know Greg is a self-taught artist and these aren't oil paintings, but gouache.

  5. What a perfect pick for this week's PPBF, Joanne! And it sounds like an amazing book! My library list is out of control already from all the great books this week :) Great activities - that patriotic parfait looks yummy :) - and as always I love your suggestions for books to go along with your selection!

    1. Many thanks. I don't know how I'll find time to catch up on all my reading either.

  6. What a perfect book for this week. I love the list of places to visit... and definitely have to get a copy of this book to read.

  7. Thanks, Sue. I hope you've had a blessed weekend. Enjoy your freedoms!


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