Phoebe the Spy
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Phoebe the Spy
Author: Judith Griffin
Major Themes: George Washington, Spies, New York City, Easy Readers, Picture Books, American Revolution
Synopsis: When her father asks her to help unmask a plot against George Washington’s life, 13-year-old Phoebe must be brave and obedient.
I enjoyed getting to read Phoebe the Spy to my children this morning. I first read this book years ago, under the title Phoebe and the General, and loved it then; I still like it a lot. This is my favorite kind of children’s book—one that is easy to read, and tells a story from history, with lots of pictures bringing it to life.
Phoebe’s father Sam Fraunces runs a tavern in New York City. The Patriots know his tavern is a safe place to talk. Sam hears a lot of things as he circulates among his guests, serving them. One day, he confides in 13-year-old Phoebe that there is a plot to kill General Washington, and he wants her to help prevent it from happening. She is to become a housekeeper for the Washingtons, and keep her eyes and ears open.
Nothing seems to be suspicious. Phoebe pays close attention to the members of Washington’s bodyguard. One ignores her and seems surly; another is very friendly and keeps bringing Phoebe gifts for her chickens. Should she confide in him? Will she find the information her father needs, in time to save the General?
Not only does Phoebe the Spy bring to life a true story from the American Revolution, it also shows the importance of obeying your parents. Things would have turned out much differently if Phoebe had not obeyed her father implicitly. I also loved the pictures; they are simple, but delightful.
WARNING: The exclamation, “By God!” is used on page 44.
Read Aloud—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 5 – 6, 7 – 9
Links to buy this book:
Keywords: George Washington, Spies, New York City, Easy Readers, Picture Books, American Revolution