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Sarah Emma Edmonds Was a Great Pretender: The True Story of a Civil War Spy (Carolrhoda Picture Books) School & Library Binding – April 1, 2011


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Frequently Bought Together

Sarah Emma Edmonds Was a Great Pretender: The True Story of a Civil War Spy (Carolrhoda Picture Books) + Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero
Price for both: $27.25

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 and up
  • Grade Level: 2 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Series: Carolrhoda Picture Books
  • School & Library Binding: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761353992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761353997
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 9.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #718,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Carrie Jones is the New York Times bestselling author of the NEED series and spends her time in Maine where she lives with her family, which includes a kitten named Sparta, an obese cat, and two very silly and very large white dogs. She has won numerous awards for her writing and photographs, but she would prefer to win cowboy hats.

More About the Author

Carrie Jones graduated from Vermont College's MFA program for writing. She has edited newspapers and poetry journals and has recently won awards from the Maine Press Association and also been awarded the Martin Dibner Fellowship as well as a Maine Literary Award.

Her first book, TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (EX) BOYFRIEND appeared May 2007. Her second novel tentatively titled,LOVE (AND OTHER USES FOR DUCT TAPE) came out March 2008. Another book, GIRL, HERO was released after August 2008. TIPS won the Maine Literary Award and the Independent Booksellers Award.

The New York Times and internationally best selling, NEED, an urban fantasy/romance appeared December 2008 and has been named a VOYA Best Books of 2008 and is a finalist for a bunch of other awards. It's about human sized pixies, the apocalypse, and being awesome. The follow-up books in the series include CAPTIVATE, ENTICE and ENDURE. I cowrote AFTER OBSESSION, which is creepy with Steven Wedel and I also wrote a picture book called SARAH EMMA EDMONDS, about a cross dressing Civil War spy and hero.

I have co-edited DEAR BULLY, where all this young adult authors volunteered to tell their own true stories about bullying and I am a contributor to DEAR TEEN ME, which is an awesome anthology.

That's boring though, isn't it? Here, let's try it this way.

Carrie Jones likes Skinny Cow fudgsicles and potatoes. She does not know how to spell fudgsicles. This has not prevented her from writing books. She lives with her cute family in Maine, but she grew up in Bedford, NH where she once had a seance with cool uber-comedian Sarah Silverman.

The Meyers brothers are from Bedford, too, so you'd think it would make Carrie funnier, coming from Bedford N.H. Obviously, something didn't work.

Carrie has a large, skinny white dog and a fat cat. Both like fudgicles. Only the cat likes potatoes. This may be a reason for the kitty's weight problem (Shh??? don't tell). Carrie has always liked cowboy hats but has never owned one. This is a very wrong thing. She graduated from Vermont College's MFA program for writing. She has edited newspapers and poetry journals and has recently won awards from the Maine Press Association and also been awarded the Martin Dibner Fellowship as well as a Maine Literary Award.

Still boring? Still with me? How about this....

2. Carrie can not drink coffee. It makes her insane. Do not give her caffeine.
3. Carrie is very responsive to loving strokes on the hair, kind of like a puppy. However, do not do this without asking first unless you are a ridiculously handsome man or an editor who is about to offer her a trillion dollars for the first draft of her novel.
4. Carrie is secretly really, really shy even though she's pathetically outgoing in person. She has a very hard time calling people. So, if you want to talk to her, make the first move. And, if you're her in-Maine female best friend, Jennifer, do NOT get mad at her because she is so bad at returning emails.
5. Carrie sometimes wears mismatched socks, if you do not think this is cool, do not tell her. You will hurt her feelings.
6. Carrie really, really wants you to like her books. Please like her books. PLEEEAASSSEEEE. She'll be your best friend forever. That is, if you want a friend who is shy about calling and emailing and who wears mismatched socks and can't drink caffeine and likes being pet on the head. Hhmmm???.
7. Carrie is not above begging.
8. Carrie, like Belle in TIPS drinks Postum. It's for the same reason, too.
9. Carrie loves Great Pyrenees dogs. They are huge and white, and furry and it looks like they have white eyeliner and mascara on, which is way too cute. Do you have one? Send a picture!
10. Carrie lives in Maine. She has a hard time with this in the winter. It is bleak in Maine in the winter. Imagine everything shades of gray and brown and no green anywhere except for in people's noses. This is Maine in Winter. Maine in summer is the best place in the world, so it's a trade-off. Feel free to invite Carrie to your house in the winter, but not if it's in Greenland, Canada, or anywhere north of Florida.
11. Forget that. She'd still probably come.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on March 9, 2011
Format: School & Library Binding
With an abusive father who clearly favored boys over girls, Sarah Emma Edmonds started early in her childhood pretending to be a boy. This skill came in handy later on when she ran away from Canada to the United States and she needed to earn money. Back in the mid-1800s, few women held paid jobs, and Emma could earn more taking on the role of a young man named Frank Thompson. Emma kept her alter ego Frank when she enlisted as a male nurse in the Union army during the Civil War. She even pretended to be Frank pretending to be several other people when "Frank" worked as a Union spy behind Confederate lines. Her motives for doing so may have had as much complexity as her multiple roles.

Dramatic illustrations and carefully-selected vignettes make this informative biographical account of an unusual Civil War soldier accessible to young learners. Although the text is a bit sparse, parents and teachers can use the book to stimulate discussion about how gender discrimination in employment and women's roles in the military have changed over time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bri on March 30, 2011
Format: School & Library Binding
Sarah Emma Edmonds Was a Great Pretender: The True Story of a Civil War Spy tells the incredible story of a girl who pretended to be several people, even pretending to be different races!

Sarah Emma Edmonds was a Great Pretender opens with Sarah depicted as a boy. Carrie Jones explains Sarah was unhappy about being a boy in 1840's Canada...and so was her father. The story doesn't go into explicit details, only saying "He treated Sarah badly." The use of these statements helps as an excellent framing device for Sarah's "pretending," keeping the story short.

Once in the United States, Sarah sold Bibles door-to-door only to find many people weren't buying. Jones puts a little historical context in here, explaining "It was unusual back then for a woman to travel by herself, and people weren't buying a lot of books." So Sarah turned to pretending to be a man. She cut off her hair, dressed more masculine, and referred to herself as Frank Thompson. The result, Jones adds was "she started selling a lot more Bibles."

Then came the Civil War. As Shelf Employed blog points out, the war details aren't rehashed for readers in Sarah Emma Edmonds; only brief details are given for Sarah is the heroine here. In 1861, Sarah decides to enlist as Frank Thompson, male nurse. Sarah/Frank volunteered to spy on the Confederacy for the Union, after their spy was captured. This time she became Cuff, a Southern slave and darkened her skin with silver nitrate. While spying, Sarah found out numerous information for the Union, including the fact the Confederacy painted giant logs as cannons!

Sarah Emma Edmonds goes on to pretend to be an female Irish peddler named Bridget O'Shea.
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Format: School & Library Binding
Sarah Emma wasn't really a boy, but she pretended to be because she wanted to please her father. He was really mean to her and "she thought if she were a boy he might like her." It wasn't going to happen because he was abusive and nothing she could do would ever change the way he felt about her. Sarah was really, really good at pretending and eventually that talent would come in mighty handy, but in the meantime she'd have to put up with that big old accusing finger pointing at her. She knew that being a "pretend boy" would never make him happy so when she was a teenager she decided to run away.

Being a runaway teen from Canada wasn't going to help her eat and so she started selling Bibles. It wasn't safe for women to roam the countryside in the 1850s so she decided to pretend again. This time she "bought men's clothes and cut her hair." Sarah, or Frank Thompson as she was now known, began her new life in the United States. Soon the Civil War began to roil around the country and in 1861 she thought to herself, "What can I do? What part am I to act in this great drama?" She pensively put her hand to her chin and decided that she would try to join the Union only to be rejected for being "too small." There was no doubt she would try again.

Finally, when she was able to enlist Sarah became a nurse in the Second Volunteers of the United States Army. They were headed to the South where the fighting was fierce. As Sarah stood outside a tent watching someone being operated on, she once again grew pensive. There was a great need for someone to spy because a Union soldier had just been captured. Sarah was still Frank, but she was also a great pretender. Could she possibly pretend enough to get the job?
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