Cover image for Patrol : an American soldier in Vietnam
Patrol : an American soldier in Vietnam
Myers, Walter Dean, 1937-2014.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 x 28 cm
A frightened American soldier faces combat in the lush forests of Vietnam.
Reading Level:
280 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.0 0.5 59487.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.1 2 Quiz: 31833 Guided reading level: M.
Added Author:

Format :


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Kenmore Library X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Frank E. Merriweather Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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Vietnam. A young American soldier waits for his enemy, rifle in hand, finger on the trigger. He is afraid to move and yet afraid not to move. Gunshots crackle in the still air. The soldier fires blindly into the distant trees at an unseen enemy. He crouches and waits -- heart pounding, tense and trembling, biting back tears. When will it all be over? Walter Dean Myers joined the army on his seventeeth birthday, at the onset of American involvement in Vietnam, but it was the death of his brother in 1968 that forever changed his mind about war. In a gripping and powerful story-poem, the award-winning author takes readers into the heart and mind of a young soldier in an alien land who comes face-to-face with the enemy. Strikingly illustrated with evocative and emotionally wrenching collages by Caldecott Honor artist Ann Grifalconi, this unforgettable portrait captures one American G.L's haunting experience.

Author Notes

Walter Dean Myers was born on August 12, 1937 in Martinsberg, West Virginia. When he was three years old, his mother died and his father sent him to live with Herbert and Florence Dean in Harlem, New York. He began writing stories while in his teens. He dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Army at the age of 17. After completing his army service, he took a construction job and continued to write.

He entered and won a 1969 contest sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books for Children, which led to the publication of his first book, Where Does the Day Go? During his lifetime, he wrote more than 100 fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults. His works include Fallen Angels, Bad Boy, Darius and Twig, Scorpions, Lockdown, Sunrise Over Fallujah, Invasion, Juba!, and On a Clear Day. He also collaborated with his son Christopher, an artist, on a number of picture books for young readers including We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart and Harlem, which received a Caldecott Honor Award, as well as the teen novel Autobiography of My Dead Brother.

He was the winner of the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award for Monster, the first recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, and a recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. He also won the Coretta Scott King Award for African American authors five times. He died on July 1, 2014, following a brief illness, at the age of 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-8. Myers' Fallen Angels (1988) remains a landmark YA novel about an American teenager in Vietnam. At 17, Myers was a soldier there; his brother died there. Now, in this spare, poetic picture book for older readers, Myers speaks in the voice of one young soldier who is with his squad during combat in the forest: «I am so afraid.» With his fear is his awareness of his own violence: «I am the enemy.» The words express the physicalness of the combat soldier's experience--the crush of his combat boots, the sound of his breath, the sweat on his back. Grifalconi's collages of photos and watercolors are uneven in quality. The best of them extend the sense of fragility by focusing on a leaf, a helmet, a bird against the dense brush and the exploding sky, and prepare readers for the climactic moment when, suddenly, the African American boy comes face to face with an enemy soldier who is as scared as he is. Myers' message is in the lack of drama. There's no heroism, just weariness and waiting for the war to be over. Hazel Rochman.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Camouflage endpapers set the stage for Myers's (Handbook for Boys: A Novel, reviewed below) unusual and gripping picture book set in Vietnam and geared to older readers. "The land of my enemy has wide valleys, mountains that stretch along the far horizon, rushing brown rivers, and thick green forests," the riveting narrative poem begins. Grifalconi's (the Everett Anderson books) sophisticated mixed-media collage shows a breathtaking vista, lush with trees, jagged mountains and terraced hillsides. On the next spread, Myers drops readers into the jungle with the narrator, a young American soldier, and his squad of nine men. The protagonist makes a nerve-wracking trek ("Somewhere in the forest, hidden in the shadows, is the enemy"), witnesses a bombing raid ("My body shakes. I tell myself that I will not die on this bright day") and comes face-to-face with an enemy soldier ("In a heartbeat, we have learned too much about each other"neither fires). Myers, who fought in Vietnam, lays bare the young man's emotions. Short phrases combine power with grace as the author artfully conveys the outward events of warfare and the resulting inner turmoil: in the village, the young man sees "the enemy. A brown woman with rivers of age etched deeply into her face. An old man, his eyes heavy with memory." Grifalconi, too, subtly highlights war's absurd contradictions. One particularly striking scene finds the G.I. facing his enemy across a field alight with heartbreakingly lovely flowers and wildlife. Readers will hope this is as close as they ever get to the real thing. Ages 8-12. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4 Up-Myers's verse powerfully evokes the experiences of a young soldier in this picture book. Searching the unfamiliar landscape, his squad tries to sense the presence of the enemy in the jungle. But who is the enemy? The old man in the village? The babies? Planes pass overhead, dropping bombs "at a distance that is never distant enough." The author captures the young man's fear, uncertainty, and weariness. "We move again. We are always moving." The layers of Grifalconi's full-page collage art conceal and reveal the flickering images of the text. Figures blend into the forest. Shadow and shape converge. The repetition of words and a landscape scene at the beginning and near the end of the book are particularly effective because they are the same except for the addition of fire and plumes of smoke in the "wide valleys" and "thick green forests" after the patrol has finished its mission. These pictures are difficult to erase from one's memory. When the soldier does encounter an enemy as young as himself, neither fires. Close enough to see one another, they cannot kill. "In a heartbeat, we have learned too much about each other." Myers and Grifalconi's presentation is one that is hard to forget.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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