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|Spy called James : the true story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War double agent|
Author: Rockwell, Anne F.
A biography of James Armistead Lafayette, a double agent in Lord Cornwallis' camp near Yorktown, Virginia, told for the first time in picture book form.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: .5 Quiz: 183334
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 6.30
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 69300
Kirkus Reviews (-) (08/15/16)
School Library Journal (+) (11/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/01/2016 Two years prior to the close of the Revolutionary War, an enslaved man in Virginia named James asks to help defeat the British by becoming a spy in exchange for his freedom. Working under the command of General Lafayette, James infiltrates General Cornwallis’ troops by posing as a runaway slave and eventually becomes a double agent. Although Cornwallis surrenders and the U.S. wins the war in 1783, James does not receive the freedom he expected, and three years pass before Lafayette writes a certificate declaring James’ independence. Rockwell’s engaging narrative shines a light on the little-known story of a key African American player in a pivotal moment in American history. Rockwell’s engaging, straightforward paragraphs are well matched by Cooper’s stunning, soft-focus oil paintings, which add drama, thanks to the figures’ expressive faces, from James’ sly, knowing glances to the reader to his deflated aspect after the injustice of being denied what was promised him. With a compelling story and appealing artwork, this inviting foray into American history will catch the attention of many readers. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2016 Gr 2–5—Rockwell's detailed yet accessible text is perfectly matched with Cooper's exceptional oil paintings in this picture book biography. Using a muted color palette and done in a grainy style, the art imparts a sense of historical drama in each spread and expertly draws readers into James Lafayette's remarkable story. Rockwell wastes no words, beginning right away with General Cornwallis's defeat at the Battle of Yorktown and his discovery that a guide for the British army was in fact a double agent, a slave working as a spy for the Americans. (Rockwell discloses enough background information on the Revolutionary War to keep kids grounded.) Students will learn that although James provided an invaluable service to the Americans, he was denied his freedom after the war ended until General Lafayette intervened (back matter notes that James petitioned for his freedom on his own and was initially denied by the general assembly). In a triumphant last spread, the former spy, now James Lafayette, appears at the forefront of a landscape with bold red text proclaiming, "James Lafayette was finally free." VERDICT A profoundly successful work. Pair this with Stephen Krensky's Hanukkah at Valley Forge and Laurie Halse Anderson's Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution for a well-rounded, multicultural look at the American Revolution.—Jennifer Steib Simmons, Anderson County Library, SC - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.