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Book Review: Phantoms in the Snow

A World War II adventure from training camp to the battle front

By Kevin Agostinelli | null null , null

Phantoms in the Snow
Author: Kathleen Benner Duble
Publisher: Scholastic Press, February 2011
Length: 240 pages
Age Range: 12 & Up

Phantoms in the Snow, written by Kathleen Benner Duble, is a historical novel that intertwines the toils of war with the search for peace.

In February 1944, 15-year-old Noah Garrett becomes an orphan after the sudden death of his parents from smallpox. With no relatives nearby, Noah is sent to live with his uncle, James Shelley, at Camp Hale, Colorado. Camp Hale is a U.S. military base for the winter warfare division of soldiers called the Phantoms.

Since Noah has been raised a pacifist, he doesn't believe in war. He also has never seen snow. He struggles to find his place among the soldiers in his new home. In addition, Noah must adapt to the living conditions and expectations of his cantankerous guardian, Uncle Shelley, a man he met only after his parents died.

These struggles take Noah on a fascinating adventure from Camp Hale to the front lines of World War II. Kathleen Benner Duble creates an exciting and captivating story in her new novel. The plot flows smoothly, with frequent surprises and twists that would make any reader want to keep turning the pages.

Noah is a believable character who faces a believable and difficult conflict. The powerful lessons of courage, brotherhood, and appreciation of life are expressed in the lives of Noah and his friends. By the end of the story, the soldiers become Noah's new family, and the orphan begins to appreciate his blessings.

Phantoms in the Snow is both an historical and a military/war novel. Many actions of the Phantoms and the 10th mountain division to which they belonged are true. Although the story takes place in 1944, readers can relate to most of the characters, especially to Noah. This story is great for all readers because it contains universal themes that anyone can enjoy.

Check out Kid Reporter Kevin Agostinelli's interview with author Kathleen Benner Duble!


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