Fascinating spy story for younger readers
Ariel Bradley, Spy for General Washington by Lynda Durrant, illustrated by Joe Rossi; Vanita Books, Akron, OH; 2013.
Note: This review is based on an uncorrected color proof provided for free by the publisher. The book is due on shelves September 1, 2013.
Ariel Bradley was a spy for General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. He was also a boy, a child. General Washington asked the boy to act like “Johnny Raw,” or a simple country kid, and spy on the British & Hessian armies. By pretending he was seeking a mill to grind a sack of corn, Bradley was able to determine how many soldiers had amassed against General Washington.
This true story is told in simple terms that will make the Revolutionary War a little more real for beginning chapter book readers. It’s easy to read, full of vocabulary that will be useful in history class, and inspirational (what kid wouldn’t want to be the spy and hero?). The illustrations are warm, inviting and help tell the story within the story by highlighting facial expressions and old-fashioned clothing.
Combining a well-told true story with inviting illustrations make this a perfect story for the Fourth of July. Because of the resources in the back of the book (a glossary as well as information about the real Ariel Bradley and his life after the American Revolution), I will be recommending it to teachers as a read-aloud in social study classes in elementary school.