#410 – Ariel Bradley, Spy for General Washington By Lynda Durrant

9780983290490_cover.

Ariel Bradley, Spy for General Washington

By Lynda Durrant

Joe Rossi, illustrator

Vanita Books

5 Stars

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Press Release:   Based on a true event. The real life adventures of nine-year-old Ariel Bradley, reveals the anxieties of the Americans who needed desperately to win the battle in the first months of the Revolutionary War. It also shows General Washington’s keen sense of humor and his wily, perceptive view of his British adversaries. Ariel Bradley is Washington’s boy spy who pretends to be a country bumpkin (a “Johnny Raw”). He ‘stumbles’ into General Howe’s camp “looking for the mill” his father has sent him in search of.

In reality, he is assessing the strength and numbers of the British and their Hessian (German) allies. After he is sent on his way by the unsuspecting English, he reports this to General Washington and his staff. This information proves key in what becomes known as the Battle of White Plains. Ariel Bradley is a real boy who made a real difference in the history of our young country.

Opening: Nine-year-old Ariel Bradley stood tall as a soldier. It was late October 1776 on his father’s farm in Connecticut, and the warm weather lingered. The oaks, maples, beeches, and sycamores blazed still with autumn reds, yellows, oranges, plums, and golds.

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About the Story:  Ariel’s two older brothers are home on a soldier’s leave.  They are there to ask their father’s permission for Ariel to be a Johnny Raw for General Washington and spy on the British troops.  He agrees and the next day Ariel, riding Salt an old farm horse who had earned her retirement, towards the Bronx River. To look the part, Ariel had to remove his shoes and hat making his feet and head cold in the late autumn weather. Alone, Ariel headed to White Plains and the camp of General Howe, of the British army.

Before entering the camp, Ariel pinched himself hard and tears began to flow. Crying, he asked the soldiers where the mill was. An officer took Ariel to General Howe, who wanted to know why Ariel was there, what he wanted, who sent him. General Howe did not immediately believe Ariel was looking for a mill. Ariel played his part well and soon the general was sending him on to the town of White Plains. Ariel had done what he had been asked to do. He reported to General Washington the number of soldiers, muskets, tents, well fed horses, food, supplies, and Hessians. Because of this information, Ariel helped General Washington win the Battle of White Plains.

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What I Thought:  Ariel Bradley, a Spy for General Washington is a fast read of 50 story pages. I do not know why Ariel’s contribution to the Revolutionary War is not taught in schools, considering his Johnny Raw was the driving force behind Washington’s victory in the Battle of White Plains. That aside, I loved the story of this brave young boy. Mostly, this is a straightforward story of one young boy’s adventure. Boys will like this story, as will teachers.

The illustrations have an old-fashioned feel to them in both the color and the art. The oranges and browns give the illustrations a rustic look of the past. General Howe looks stern with his squinty eyes and with brows that turn toward his nose at a steep angle. In contrast, General Washington looks stately in his bluish coat. His open eyes are guarded by softly laying brows. Washington’s red nose looks cold, as does Ariel’s. Ariel’s green eyes, red and swollen from tears and old Salt’s limping, groaning, and coughing make them both look helpless and lost—the perfect Johnny Raw.

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I cannot image walking 70 miles across fields, and who knows what else, to get from one town to another, but this is what Ariel and his two older brothers did. It took them four days to walk from home to General Washington’s small house on Chatterton Hill. Though short, the story of a young boy’s journey for one of this country’s largest and most powerful men is intriguing. I hated history in school. Had I used texts with stories like this in them, American history might have been more interested.

Teachers, take a look at Ariel Bradley, a Spy for General Washington, your students will find history more interesting after reading this story of a courageous nine-year-old boy. Reluctant readers will enjoy this nine chapter story, based on a true event.  In the back is a glossary of the terms used in 1776 and a little more about the real  Ariel Bradley.

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Vanita Books are known for their philanthropy.  The net profits from Ariel Bradley, a Spy for General Washington will be donated to Fisher House. Fisher House is a not-for-profit organization that builds “comfort homes” near campuses of major military hospitals and VA hospitals.  These homes help families remain near their injured loved one–an American War Hero–by giving them a free place to live.

TRAILER

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Ariel Bradley, Spy for General Washington

By Lynda Durrant

Joe Rossi, illustrator    website

Vanita Books    website     blog      twitter

Released September 1, 2013

56 Pages

Ages 6 to 8

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© 2013 by Vanita Books, used with permission

Text copyright © 2013 by Lynda Durrant

Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Joe Rossi

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ariel bradley

18 thoughts on “#410 – Ariel Bradley, Spy for General Washington By Lynda Durrant

  1. Pingback: #523 – Don’t Dangle Your Participle by Vanita Oelschlager & Mike DeSantis | Kid Lit Reviews

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  3. Well, this is quite the gem of a book. I love the illustratiosn first and foremost. How would you classify this book Sue? It seems short at 50 pages, has lots of pictures, has chapters, the page density is quite low (me thinks), and the themes are well, about war. You mention it’s a good one for reluctant readers, but what age group, do you think? Love that it’s tied to a charity, btw. Thanks for linking your post in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. I’m pinning this one to my Kid Lit Blog Hop Great Finds board – sounds great!

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    • Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)

      from the original “Pirates of the Caribbean” Disney attraction 😀

      Lyrics by X Atencio
      Music by George Bruns

      Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
      We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot,
      Drink up me hearties, yo ho.
      We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot,
      Drink up me hearties, yo ho.

      Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
      We extort, we pilfer, we filch, and sack,
      Drink up me hearties, yo ho.
      Maraud and embezzle, and even high-jack,
      Drink up me hearties, yo ho.

      Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
      We kindle and char, inflame and ignite,
      Drink up me hearties, yo ho.
      We burn up the city, we’re really a fright,
      Drink up me hearties, yo ho.

      We’re rascals, scoundrels, villains, and knaves,
      Drink up me hearties, yo ho.
      We’re devils and black sheep, really bad eggs,
      Drink up me hearties, yo ho.

      Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
      We’re beggars and blighters, ne’er-do-well cads,
      Drink up me hearties, yo ho.
      Aye, but we’re loved by our mommies and dads,
      Drink up me hearties, yo ho.

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  4. Wow, Sue, I actually don’t see anything NOT to like about this book! 😀 I was immediately drawn to its cover, then finding out it’s based on a real boy and true story! Life was certainly much different back then. I can’t imagine letting my 9-year-old son do something like that! Phew! Thanks for the great review 🙂 And of course, one thing to really love is the charity 🙂

    Like

    • I was thinking the same thing. A NINE-year-old, on his own, traveling in the woods, to spy on an English General, not armed, not even on a fast horse! No way, not my kid! Not now, not then! But someone did let their child and I bet he got a lot of hell from his wife in bed that night and the next, until her child was home safe. Wow! 🙂

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