Redcoats and Petticoats
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Redcoats and Petticoats
Author: Katherine Kirkpatrick
Major Themes: Spies, New York, Picture Books, American Revolution
Synopsis: Thomas can’t understand why his mother is sending him on long trips every day with the rowboat—or why she hangs out laundry every day!
A year ago, we read Anna Strong and the Revolutionary War Culper Spy Ring together. Before that, I had never even heard of the Culper spy ring. This week, though, I came across Redcoats and Petticoats, and as we started reading this picture book together, we realized that it told the same story! Of course, the perspective is different, and details that had to be invented to tell the story are different—but the main account is the same.
Soon after the Revolutionary War began, the redcoats arrived in Setauket, a small village on Long Island. They arrested Selah Strong and took over his house. His wife Nancy and her children moved to a little cottage—and then Nancy began doing strange things. Her son Thomas thought she might be touched in the head when she asked him to row a long way from home to go fishing and look for a whaleboat. She also did laundry every day, and some days even hung out items that were dry. What was going on?
At the end of the war, everyone was astounded when George Washington came to the Strong home and thanked Nancy for her part in helping him to win. Then he asked how she transmitted messages. She wouldn’t tell—but Thomas thought he knew.
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a little-known family who played a large part in the American victory. Redcoats and Petticoats is a good addition to any study of the American Revolution, especially for young children.
Read Aloud—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12
Links to buy this book:
Keywords: Spies, New York, Picture Books, American Revolution