Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Historical Fiction
Phantoms in the Snow

Phantoms in the Snow

Fall 2011 Historical Fiction
Ages: 12 & Up
Author: Kathleen Duble
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0545197700
Hardcover Price: $17.99

Phantoms in the Snow is based on the true-life events of the Tenth Mountain Division - an elite skiing company of American soldiers in World War II.

Kathleen Benner Duble tells their story through the eyes of 15-year-old Noah Garrett. Having recently lost his parents to smallpox, Noah is sent from the family farm in Texas to the frigid temperatures of Camp Hale, Colorado -- a military base - to live with his only known relative, an uncle he's never met. Uncle Shelley is brash and bawdy. He's a favorite with the troops for his daring exploits and way with the ladies, but a very unlikely father figure. The reception Noah receives is gruff; Uncle Shelley doesn't have kid gloves, he has survival instincts. Duble paints the stark extremes of the camp so well, the reader feels every shiver and ache Noah endures as the tough but good-hearted Shelley transforms him into a soldier. She captures the camaraderie of the young soldiers, the daily rigors of their training, and the astounding skills they develop.

Nicknamed "phantoms" for their quiet stealth on the mountain, the Tenth Mountain Division changed the tide of the war for Italy through an extraordinary sneak attack on the Germans in the Italian Alps, which Duble superbly recounts. This well-crafted portrait is a poignant coming of age story.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2011 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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