The poetic prose manner of the book, To the Front!: Clara Barton Braves the Battle of Antietam, might have been suited best for a non-picture book format. Also, the subject, as it is portrayed on the pages created by Claudia Friddell, might be too old for the picture book crowd. I would put the ages at least second grade to a fourth grader who is slightly on the younger side. But the subject is for not sensitive readers.
This was not an easy read for me due to the format of poems being blended into the art of Christopher Cyr. Also, the format of the text (italics and different color) when showing the actual words of Barton can be difficult to follow. Then there is the switch to the authors voice, and that switch in looks can make you stop. Which was not necessarily a negative but did make it take time to get through.
And it is not an easy read because of the amazingly beautiful, but realistic and slightly intense imagery. While, that age group probably has seen worse in TV/Movies watched, it is not for the sensitive reader/listener/viewer. Best for the classroom when doing a course on history, war, Civil War era, or Women’s History Month.
I need 50 more words so I will say my feelings on the illustrations. They are Beautiful. Ugly. Horrific. Amazing. Gorgeous. Dark. Hopeful. Dirty. Bloody. Awe inspiring. They are crowded, sometimes hard to follow and fantastic works of art to glide your eyes over. The adult can appreciate what is not being shown, and the student/child reader/listener can get a glimpse of what happened in war.