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This fast-paced, high-energy picture book tells the true story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who at age nineteen disguised herself as a man in order to fight in the Civil War. She took the name Frank Thompson and joined a Michigan army regiment to battle the Confederacy. Sarah excelled as a soldier and nurse on the battlefield. Because of her heroism, she was asked to become a spy. Her story comes to life through the signature illustrations and design...
This fast-paced, high-energy picture book tells the true story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who at age nineteen disguised herself as a man in order to fight in the Civil War. She took the name Frank Thompson and joined a Michigan army regiment to battle the Confederacy. Sarah excelled as a soldier and nurse on the battlefield. Because of her heroism, she was asked to become a spy. Her story comes to life through the signature illustrations and design of John Hendrix and the exciting storytelling of Marissa Moss.
Praise for Nurse, Soldier, Spy
“The incredible story of how Sarah Edmonds becomes Frank Thompson is full of adventure, bravado and pathos. Spirited pen-and-ink drawings, full of period detail and war action always focus on the intriguing Frank…” –San Francisco Chronicle
“Readers won't stop until the last page of Marissa Moss' exciting Civil War story about Sarah Edmonds' life as a man in the Union Army. Vivid illustrations by artist John Hendrix match Moss' exciting account of Sarah's life in the Army.” –Sacramento Bee
“Hendrix's artwork is, as usual, a showstopper, and his bold caricatures convey Edmonds's strength and determination. Moss delivers a riveting narrative, making it clear that Edmonds was fighting for more than one kind of freedom.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The focused view makes the book accessible for children. The pen-and-ink with acrylic wash illustrations are full of vibrant detail. Hendrix presents a meticulous view of military life, including army camp layouts and fortifications. Hand-drawn typography highlights important or humorous points in the text and adds even more visual interest.” –School Library Journal
“Hendrix’s art emphasizes the horror and drama of war. Using hand-lettered text reminiscent of broadsides of the time, he visually shouts danger to the reader when tension is the highest.” –Horn Book
“In ink-and-wash illustrations, Hendrix again displays his knack for visual narrative. The aerial view of Edmonds approaching the Confederate camp is particularly effective. This large-format picture book illustrates Edmonds’ courage and determination while conveying a good deal of information in a highly readable way.” –Booklist
“Admirable and enlightening. Moss is a lively prose writer, and Hendrix’s illustrations inject humor into what is actually a serious subject.” –The New York Times
“Boldly illustrated. The text is full of interesting details. This book strikes a fine balance which conveys the horrors of the Civil War without portraying too much blood and violence for elementary readers. A very useful and researchable picture book.” –Library Media Connection, starred review
Posted March 8, 2011
Did you know that during the American Civil War, hundreds of women secretly disguised themselves as men to help fight on both sides? One of them was named Frank Thompson. Only her real name was Sarah Emma Edmonds. She had begun dressing as a man at age sixteen and lived on the run, escaping from Canada to the United States in order to escape an arranged marriage. At age nineteen, Frank decides to enlist in the Union Army during the Civil War. At first, Frank is rejected as being too young but on the second try is accepted as a private into Company F, Second Michigan Volunteer Infantry of the Army of the Potomac.
Frank can outshoot and outride many of the country boys, but due to her small boots other soldiers call her "our little woman." Little do they know! Then after serving as a nurse in the battles of Bull Run, Fair Oaks, and Williamsburg, Frank is recruited as a spy. She darkens her skin with silver nitrate, dons a wig, dresses up like a freed slave, and makes her way to the nearby Confederate camp to find out the position of the Southern defenses. Will she be captured? And will her identity ever be found out? Author Marissa Moss's vivid storytelling join with illustrator John Hendrix's slightly caricatured but accurately detailed drawings to chronicle the work of this unsung hero of the American Civil War. Or is it heroine? In either case, Nurse, Soldier, Spy is a welcome addition to the reading lists of youngsters who are studying about the Civil War.
The Author's Note at the end tells about the odd circumstances which happened to Frank/Sarah in 1863 and led to her leaving the army with a dishonorable discharge. It also records how Sarah went on to marry and then decided to write a book about her exploits and how, after several years of effort and two different acts of Congress, she became the first and only woman to be recognized as a veteran of the Civil War with an honorable discharge. A glossary which defines or describes many of the terms, places, and people mentioned in the book, a bibliography, and an index all increase the usefulness of this volume. I always enjoy reading well-written biographies, such as this one, for young people about interesting characters from history, not only those who are famous but also those who are lesser known.
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