Monday, April 30, 2007

Children's Book Monday

The Scarlet Stockings Spy
by Trinka Hakes Noble
Illustrated by Robert Papp

I know my children love a book when they snatch it out of my hands the moment I finish and begin reading it again. This is what happened when I read The Scarlet Stockings Spy to my boys, and they learned some interesting facts about the Revolutionary War to boot! It has a particularly special place in my heart, because the heroine of the story is named Maddy Rose...and so is my youngest sister! (Hi, Maddie!)

The story is set in the year 1777, as the British are preparing to attack; everywhere, there are spies.

Maddy Rose is one of them.

She lives in Philadelphia with her mother in "their tiny row house on Appletree Alley", alone because her father has fallen at the Battle of Princeton the previous winter, and her brother, Jonathan, who is only fifteen, has joined Washington's army. She cares for her mother very sweetly, and works at Ross's Upholstery Shop (anyone remember the name Betsy Ross?), where she rips out seams and runs errands for Mistress Ross.

Maddy Rose sends secret messages to her brother, who is a spy as well, and when he comes to the house and waits out in the street each week, she hangs out her stockings and petticoats to signal him. She watches the ships in the harbor closely to see if they carry heavy artillery, until one day, Philadelphia is attacked.

Jonathan is caught in the battle, and one night when Maddy Rose hangs out her signals, Jonathan does not come. Nor does he the next night, nor the next.

I will not spoil the ending for you, dear reader, but I shall confess that I did shed tears, and continue to do so every time I read this story to my children. (But that is nothing new, is it?)

There were many interesting facts about the time period in this book, such as: If Philadelphian women were wearing the latest fashions from London, this showed loyalty to the king. Maddy Rose would flounce her skirts and jut out her chin and cluck, "Poppycock!" to such nonsense. Also, the bells were removed from church buildings to keep the British from melting them down into firearms, and the people of the thirteen colonies believed the year 1777 resembed a hangman's gallows, and took it as a very bad sign.

Enjoy this historical story with your children, and do look look for another excellent book called The Last Brother: A Civil War Tale, also by Trinka Hakes Noble and beautifully illustrated by Robert Papp.

Happy Reading!

11 fellow travelers shared:

Beka said...

Sounds like a great book! I love children's books that are based on historical events. I remember reading books by Jean Fritz (Can't You Make Them Behave, King George?, Traitor: The Case of Benedict Arnold, and there are others.) I think books like these are a great way to learn history-- much more interesting than some history textbooks! I was homeschooled too, though, and in the younger grades, we learned history by reading books like these and taking LOTS of field trips.
Great book review!!

Beverly said...

I caught my breath while reading your review when I came to the words "Jonathan does not come ..." Now I HAVE to get the book, even if it is guaranteed to make me cry. I declare ... we are going to have to get Selena a bigger bookshelf!

Theresa ♥ said...

Is children's book Monday a regular feature you have here at your blog?

Elise said...

Yes it is, Theresa! Wanna join? The more the merrier!
There's no pressure - people just post a review when they have time, and sometimes, I don't even have time! :)

Jenny said...

I have to get this one! My daughter just finished watching the American Girl movie about Felicity and is craving more information about this time period.

Thanks for the recommendation!

rcsnickers said...

We have read this one and greatly enjoyed it. Sad that the older brother died, but what hard times for those people. Cannot imagine!!!

Opps, I just spoiled the ending in your comment section!

Sorry I missed the book review yesterday. Our computer has been down since the weekend. Daniel finally got everything reloaded and running again with Sound!!! We have not had sound for a long time! Yeah!!!


bluemountainmama said...

sir laughsalot would love this.....
he's really into history, especially stories about battles and spies. thanks, elise! you always manage to find such wonderful books.....

Munchkin Land said...

I know that you turned off the comments to your post to Stacey but I just gotta say that it was such a fitting post for what she's currently going through. I am so sad for her....

Biby Cletus said...

Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog

Kerri said...

This sounds like a really wonderful book, I have not heard of it and I live in Philadelphia. I will be running out today to find a copy.

I’m reaching out to talk to parents about the Maya & Miguel program as part of a marketing project I’m working on with Scholastic. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Maya & Miguel, a show on PBS in the afternoons -- -- that emphasizes cultural diversity and language learning.

I found your post and thought I’d reach out to say hello and ask if you’d like to receive a free Maya & Miguel DVD. If you’d like to receive the DVD just email me at Kerri at with your address and I’ll have it shipped it out to you.

If you do choose to blog about Maya & Miguel show or episodes on the DVD, please make it clear how you received the information. Our goal is to be open and honest with everyone we reach.

Kerri Roberts, BoldMouth

Cindee said...

What is the recommended age level for this book? Would you recommend it as a book to read aloud to a six-year-old? I'm looking for a birthday gift for my niece and this looks like a great book!

As For Me

Related Posts with Thumbnails