While a charming tale at heart, this story suffers from information dumping in the form of too many military details that only slow the pace. Lula herself is an appealing protagonist and her every day life will draw young readers in alongside Ms. Nivola's rich, evocative illustrations.
My seven year old niece, Nylah, liked the story and thought some of the history facts were neat, but she wanted to know more about what happened to Lula and less about the soldiers. Her favourite part was when the cannon ball landed in the pot of stew and exploded.
While I commend Ms. Friedman for wanting to teach history through fiction, a lighter hand with the military minutiae was needed to make this book a true keeper.
© Teresa Eckford and Nylah Eckford2005
This review first appeared in the November 2005 issue of The Historical Novels Review