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Dad says because of the army he stood shoulder to shoulder with polar bears and watched the sun rise over the frozen fields of Alaska, which sounds really exciting. And because of the Army he slept in sludge, shoulder to shoulder with snakes and watched the sun set over the swamps of Alabama -- which does not.

In a timely, but not politically charged way, author Alan Madison looks at the way a family copes with having a parent away on a 100 day, 99 night military tour of duty through the eyes of the very loveable Esmerelda (Esme) Swishback McCarthur. Esme wants to be good while her dad is away. In fact, she feels like it's her duty to be good. But being good can be hard, especially if you have a little brother like Ike. By following Esme's story, as she awaits her father's return, readers will see how heroism can translate to every member of a family.

Aside from the military families that this book serves, readers who wonder what it would be like if their mother, father, brother, or sister was sent away will relate to Esme's quiet strength and candor and will understand her worry about what could happen. This story has the potential to speak to readers on a personal level and to turn a concept that seems so hard to grasp--war--into one that feels much more personal.

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