Early Reader Review: Ariel Bradley, Spy for General Washington by Lynda Durrant and Joe Rossi (Illustrations)


Ariel Bradley, Spy for General Washington by Lynda Durrant and Joe Rossi (Illustrations)

Age Range: 6 and up
Paperback: 56 pages
Publisher: Vanita Books (September 1, 2013)
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!)
Rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book is based on a true event, the real life adventure of nine year-old Ariel Bradley. It reveals the anxiety of the Americans, who a battle in the first months of the Revolutionary War. It also shows George 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 became known as the Battle of White Plains.

 Amazon | Goodreads | Publisher Website


Ariel Bradley, Spy for General Washington, brings a little-known
piece of American history vividly to life through the eyes and ears of
nine-year-old Ariel Bradley, whose information about the British Army
helps General Washington’s army win an important battle in America’s War
of Independence.  –  Lavern Holdeman, author of N.U.K.E.S.

true story of a young spy offers the perfect connection for young
readers, who need to understand America’s earliest struggle. Lynda
Durrant offers history and suspense in Ariel Bradley, Spy for General Washington. –  Dandi Daley Mackall is the award-winning author of over 450 books, including Rudy Rides the Rails: A Depression-Era Story, and The Silence of Murder, the 2012 winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery. 

About the Author:

Lynda Durrant has published seven award-winning historic fiction novels. Her local historical society published a novel about the first family to live in her 1850 farmhouse. This is her first picture book.

 My Thoughts:

This is an interesting little story. It’s a neat way for kids to relate
to American freedom and see that even young children can make a big
difference.  I only wish that the author had included how Ariel’s information helped the Americans win the battle. That info is in the
notes, but not in the story itself.

The illustrations are fantastic. Bright and colorful, Jo Rossi’s artwork is full of life and personality.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Reply
    Tressa S
    September 2, 2013 at 3:07 am

    This sounds like a good historical book for kids. I agree that it would be good to have that info in the book too. Love the illustrations. There are so many books I would love to get for my kids! It's hard to choose which ones.

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

    • Reply
      September 2, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      There are so many great children's books out there. I have a hard time choosing which ones to get, too. I usually end up buying them from the scholastic catalogue.

  • Reply
    Adriana Garcia
    September 3, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Huh. I had no idea about Ariel. You're right in saying this can let kids know they can make a difference. I love that picture books encourage kids to be silly, thoughtful, think outside of the box, etc.

    • Reply
      September 4, 2013 at 12:51 am

      I had never heard of him before either, but it's pretty neat that he was involved in the cause. 🙂

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