The Civil War has begun, and ten-year-old Izzie’s  brothers have joined the Union Army. They’re anxious to see the elephant – soldier talk, they tell Izzie, for going into battle for the first time. Izzie hates the Rebels who have split up the country. He wishes he c
ould see the elephant, too, and help his brothers make the Rebels behave. Then his Aunt Bell, an Army nurse, takes him to Washington, D.C., where she is stationed. After a battle, the wounded are transported to her hospital; the next day, she introduces Izzie to Private Grafflin Cook, a wounded Confederate soldier who will soon be sent to prison. At first, Izzie is furious – why would he ever want to spend time with a hated Rebel? But once they start talking, Izzie comes to see Graff not as “the enemy,” but as a human being with feelings, a  family, and a different point of view about the war. Izzie realizes the issues are not as simple as he once believed – and in the end, “seeing the elephant” takes on a whole new meaning.

     Ken Stark’s evocative, finely detailed illustrations bring to life a story that speaks to people of all ages ... and about all wars.                  

 Read a newspaper article about  Ken and the Wisconsin boy who was his model for Izzie.
 The Pardees of Hazleton, inspiration for this story. STE_Pardees.html
 I interviewed my illustrator, Ken Stark, about his artistic process and his unusual lifestyle. Take a look!  STE_Ken_Stark.html
  1. National Council for Social Studies/Children’s Book Council Best Book

  2. Bank Street College Best Book

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