March 28, 2011

Book Review: Sarah Emma Edmonds Was A Great Pretender by Carrie Jones

I'm reviewing something a little different today.
Aimed at children between the ages of 4-8 and written by New York Times bestselling author of the Young Adult NEED series Carrie Jones.

Sarah Emma Edmonds Was A Great Pretender by Carrie Jones 
Illustrated by Mark Oldroyd

"Sarah Emma Edmonds started pretending at a very early age. Her father only wanted sons, so Sarah pretended to be one. Unlike most kids, though, Sarah never really stopped pretending. In 1861, during the U.S. Civil War, Sarah pretended her way into the Union army, becoming a male nurse named Frank Thompson. Being a nurse didn’t quite satisfy “Frank,” though. She wanted to keep her fellow soldiers from getting hurt. So when the Union army needed a spy, she leapt at the chance. While still pretending to be Frank, Sarah also pretended to be a male African American slave, a female Irish peddler, and a female African American laundress. She slipped behind enemy lines time after time, spied on the Confederate army, and brought back valuable intelligence to the Union. Sarah was not only good at pretending; she was also very brave."

My Thoughts

I sat and read this with my 9 year old daughter and was pleasantly surprised by this beautifully written and lovingly illustrated book.
At first, I was a little taken back by the rawness of its descriptions, in particular, the fathers dislike of his daughter Sarah and thought that it might be a bit heavy handed.
Overall however, it is riveting, refreshing and carefully laid out for the younger reader. And the illustrations are beautiful in their simple realism.
My daughter thought that Sarah Emma Edmonds' story was fascinating and exciting, and another reason for her to seriously consider being a spy when she's older!!

A great retelling of a historical period of time, and an interesting look into the life of a strong willed and adventurous woman. (5/5)

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