Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero

Marissa Moss, illus. by John Hendrix. Abrams, $18.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-8109-9735-6
In one of two noteworthy picture-book biographies of this Civil War figure out this spring (the other being Carrie Jones's Sarah Emma Edmonds Was a Great Pretender), Moss and Hendrix focus on Edmonds' life as a young adult, as she assumes the identity of Frank Thompson and volunteers to join the army as a private. Disguised as a man, Edmonds fought at the Battle of Bull Run and elsewhere, and eventually further disguised herself as a black slave in order to spy on Confederate forces. Hendrix's (John Brown: His Fight for Freedom) artwork is, as usual, a showstopper, and his bold caricatures, dominated by midnight blues and sunset golds, convey Edmonds's strength and determination; brief quotations in massive type streak across certain spreads, delivering emotional wallops ("You there, boy! Who do you belong to?" booms a Confederate soldier, upon finding Edmonds in her slave disguise). For her part, Moss (Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee) delivers a riveting narrative, making it clear that Edmonds was fighting for more than one kind of freedom. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 05/09/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
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