Tucky Jo and Little Heart by Patricia Polacco
Five paw prints
During World War II many young men from our country were sent to war after our country was attacked at Pearl Harbor. Some young men were so determined to defend our country that they lied about their age saying they were older than they really were. One of these young men was Johnnie Wallen from Kentucky. When Johnnie heard about what was happening in the world he begged his parents to lie about his age. He knew he was a sharpshooter (he had always been good with a gun) and he felt he could help his country. Reluctantly, his parents agreed to lie about his age and soon after Johnnie found himself in the thick of fighting in the Pacific Islands. It didn’t take long for Johnnie to realize that “there ain’t no glory in war” and he missed his home and family. After over 200 hundred days of non-stop fighting Johnnie was on reconnaissance when he met a little girl from a nearby village. She didn’t say anything, but she did help Johnnie calm down about where he was, and he decided he was going to do everything he could for her and her village. Life for Johnnie, now called Tucky Jo by his young friend, was going as well as could be expected until the day the enemy came back to the island where he was stationed and where Little Heart, his name for his friend, lives. The United States Army decided to relocate the soldiers from the island and fire bomb EVERYTHING! What would Johnnie/Tucky Jo do...follow orders or save his friend? This story, based on real people and events, is extremely moving. I refuse to describe this book as “good” or “great” because I don’t like to use these words when describing war. But it is definitely a book worth reading. To learn more about the real Tucky Jo visit http://6thinfantry.com/6thinfantry/johnnie-wallen-wwii-veteran-6th-division-20th-infantry-lost-his-final-battle-jan-2010/. To learn more about World War II visit http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii or http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/world-war-ii-history. Please remember that war is not “glorious” and these websites should be visited only with permission from a parent or guardian. A website that you can visit without an adult would be https://www.nps.gov/wwii/index.htm. Finally, if you are related to a World War II veteran you can visit the National WWII Memorial website at https://www.wwiimemorial.com/Registry/Default.aspx to type in the name of a veteran and learn more about him or her.