The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick
Homer P. Figg and his big brother Harold are alone in this world. Homer’s father died before he was born. His mother passed away when he was just a young sapling of a boy leaving Homer and Harold at the mercy of their uncle Squinton Leach, the meanest man in Maine. (Ooooh, Squinton Leach. Just writing down his name gives me the shivers. )
Squint’s meanness reaches a new level when he sells Harold to the Union Army in place of a rich man’s son. When Homer finds that the enlistment isn’t legally binding because Harold is underage, he knows he has to rescue his brother. His journey includes (but is not limited to) getting swindled, being kidnapped once or twice, starring in a traveling show as a vicious pig boy, a balloon ride, and a final stop at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Don’t let the goofy cover of this Newbery Honor Book fool you — this humorous book doesn’t gloss over the ugliness of war. Homer sees the front lines, and he doesn’t like it one bit. Still, Homer’s ability to spin a yarn will entertain just about every reader.