Reviews for Nurse, Soldier, Spy : The Story of Sarah Edmonds, A Civil War Hero

Booklist Reviews 2011 May #1
This lively picture book introduces Sarah Emma Edmonds, a Canadian girl who began dressing as a man at 16, later moved to Michigan to escape an arranged marriage, and joined the Union army under the name Frank Thompson. She served as a field-hospital nurse and a spy. Rather than squeezing all of Edmonds' eventful life into a short book, Moss introduces her in a few paragraphs and spotlights particular experiences in greater detail, such as her enlistment in the army, her recruitment as a spy, and a successful mission to disguise herself as a slave and gather information behind enemy lines. Author's and illustrator's notes, a glossary, and source bibliographies are appended. In ink-and-wash illustrations, Hendrix, who illustrated Abe Lincoln Crosses the Creek (2008), 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. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
During the Civil War, Sarah Edmonds, disguised as a man, fought for the Union. Her dedication and bravery also made her the perfect spy. Moss emphasizes Sarah's early work and initial mission, concluding the biography before war's end. Hendrix's art, heavily shaded in orange for battle scenes or somber blue for makeshift field hospitals, emphasizes the horror and drama of war. Bib., glos., ind. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #4
Two complementary biographies track the life of Sarah Edmonds, a woman who, disguised as a man, nursed, fought alongside, and spied for Union troops during the Civil War. The accounts differ slightly in detail although each author lists similar sources. For example, Jones has Sarah posing as (or as she repeats throughout the text, pretending to be) a boy to please her harsh, Canadian father, while Moss indicates Sarah's first impersonation came from her need to escape an arranged marriage, crossing the border into the United States as Frank Thompson. Here, Frank, a.k.a. Sarah, enlists in the Union Army, and her dedication and bravery make her the perfect candidate to act as a spy. Jones enumerates these feats, often continuing the touch of humor indicated on the jacket that shows a mock daguerreotype portrait of a uniformed Frank, broadly winking at the reader (see the back of the jacket for the punchline), and continues Sarah's story throughout the war and her subsequent marriage. Moss, on the other hand, puts her emphasis on Sarah's early work and initial mission, concluding the biography before war's end. Hendrix's art, heavily shading pages in orange for battle scenes or blue for the somber settings of night or makeshift field hospitals, 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. For his part, Oldroyd makes effective use of broad, rough-hewn brush strokes, particularly in creating an impressionistic background that frequently allows a detailed illustration of Sarah to take center stage. Both books contain a bibliography (Moss's is the most extensive) and an author's note. Additionally, the Moss account includes an artist's bibliography and note, an index, and a glossary. betty carter [review covers these titles: Sarah Emma Edmonds Was a Great Pretender: The True Story of a Civil War Spy and Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero] Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

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.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 May

Gr 1-4--As a teen, Sarah Emma Edmonds ran away from home to avoid an arranged marriage. To make her journey safer, she left Canada for Michigan dressed as a man. She quickly decided that she liked the freedom it gave her and became traveling salesman "Frank Thompson." When the Civil War began, she enlisted as a soldier and eventually became an army nurse and a spy. Moss targets a short period in Edmonds's life in this picture-book biography, covering her enlistment and first spying assignment. The focused view makes the book accessible for children, but the tradeoff is that readers only learn the full scope of her accomplishments from a densely written author's note. Much of the story is told through dialogue. Moss acknowledges Edmonds's autobiography as a source, but quotations are not directly attributed. 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. Carrie Jones's Sarah Emma Edmonds Was a Great Pretender (Carolrhoda, 2011) takes a wider perspective, covering the woman's childhood through her Civil War experiences and beyond. Although both books have a similar format, they highlight different elements of Edmonds's story, and could be used effectively in conjunction with one another.--Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

[Page 99]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.