Cover image for Charley Skedaddle
Charley Skedaddle
Beatty, Patricia, 1922-1991.
Publication Information:
Mahwah, NJ : Troll Associates, 1988.

Physical Description:
186 pages ; 20 cm
During the Civil War, a twelve-year-old Bowery Boy from New York City joins the Union Army as a drummer, deserts during a battle in Virginia, and encounters a hostile old mountain woman.
General Note:
"A Troll book."
Reading Level:
870 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.2 7.0 559.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.3 10 Quiz: 02042 Guided reading level: U.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



In this powerful story, based on real-life Civil War records and memoirs, young Yankee deserter Charley Quinn learns that his flight from his first battle doesn't brand him a life-long coward. "Rich detail . . . readers will love this rousing epic."--"Kirkus Reviews." Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-8. Anxious to be a soldier like his brother Johnny, recently killed at Gettysburg, 12-year-old Charley Quinn, a cocky boy from the Bowery, runs away and finagles a job as a drummer in the Union army. In his first battle he meets the horrors of war face to face and, without thought to an injured friend, ``skedaddles'' into the Virginia mountains. There he meets a cranky old backwoods woman called Granny Bent, who is suspicious of this young Yankee deserter and holds him captive to do her running and fetching. As Charley learns Granny's mountain ways and begins to appreciate the solitude of the hills, she begins to see another side of Charley and new respect grows between them. One night, alone, Charley finds he must confront a hungry panther and when Granny is lost and hurt he needs all his courage and ingenuity to get her home safely. At the story's end, Charley is once again heading west but this time with the sure knowledge that he is not a coward and with a better sense of himself as a person. Though the plot is fairly predictable and the characters true to form, Beatty writes with the practiced hand of a good storyteller, and her underlying themes of bravery and self-esteem are as much a concern today as one-hundred-odd years ago. Author's note appended. BE. U.S. History Civil War, 1861-1865 Fiction / Mountain life Fiction / Virginia Fiction [CIP] 87-12270

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fighting is important to Charley Quinn, 12, a street-tough New York Bowery Boy who runs away from his Irish-Catholic home to join the Union forces in Virginia. But war proves much more horrible than he'd thoughtso terrible, in fact, that he deserts, giving himself the disparaging name ``Skedaddle.'' Afterward, Charley takes refuge in the mountains with Granny Bent, a midwife with her own secret loyalties. This well-crafted, somewhat episodic novel makes the point that fighting brings honor, and cowardice, shame. The settingsfrom the Bowery, to the battlefield, to Granny's cabinare quite powerful. These, along with Charley's disillusionment and change, give this novel depth and make it one of Beatty's best. Ages 10-14. (October) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Jeff Woodman narrates Patricia Beatty's powerful story (Troll, pap. 1996) of Charley Quinn, a 12-year-old street tough Bowery Boy from New York City who, during the Civil War, runs away from home and enlists as a drummer boy with the Union Army. Seeking to avenge his older brother's death at Gettysburg, Charley is proud to be a soldier until he gets his first taste of battle. Terrified, he "skedaddles" into the Blue Ridge Mountains where he is befriended by Granny Bent, a cantankerous old abolitionist mountain woman. Pretending to be mute, Charley helps Granny with chores, proves his courage by killing a mountain lion, evades Rebel soldiers, and wins the love of shy Sarie Giffen. In doing these things, Charley discovers the greed that motivated both sides of the Mason-Dixon line and learns the true meaning of honor and cowardice. Students studying the Civil War will be entranced as Woodman captures Charley's personality brilliantly, and brings history to life by introducing listeners to interesting characters, witty dialogue, and descriptive settings based on actual Civil War records and memoirs.-Darlene M. Ford, Dauphin County Library System, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.