The Scarlet Stockings Spy (Tales of Young Americans)

by Trinka Hakes Noble (Author) Robert Papp (Illustrator)

The Scarlet Stockings Spy (Tales of Young Americans)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Philadelphia 1777 is no place for the faint of heart. The rumble of war with the British grows louder each day, and spies for and against the Patriots are everywhere. No one is above suspicion. Still, everyday life must go on and young Maddy Rose must help her mother, especially since her father's death at the Battle of Princeton and now with her beloved brother Jonathan off with Washington's army.

But when childhood games become life-and-death actions, Maddy Rose is drawn ever deeper into events that will explode beyond her imagining. As young America stands on the very brink of its fight for freedom, it becomes clear that even the smallest of citizens can play the largest of parts, and that the role of a patriot has nothing to do with age and everything to do with heart.

In The Scarlet Stockings Spy, Trinka Hakes Noble melds a suspenseful tale of devotion, sacrifice, and patriotism with the stark realities of our country's birth.

Noted picture book author and illustrator Trinka Hakes Noble has pursued the study of children's book writing and illustrating in New York City at Parsons School of Design, the New School University, Caldecott medalist Uri Shulevitz's Greenwich Village Workshop, and New York University. She has authored and illustrated numerous books including the popular Jimmy's Boa series, which has been translated into six languages. Trinka lives in Berrnardsville, New Jersey. The Scarlet Stockings Spy is her first book with Sleeping Bear Press.

Because Robert Papp's childhood drawings of his favorite superheros were such a pleasure, it was only natural that he would wind up an illustrator. Nowadays, his award-winning artwork appears on book covers and in magazines instead of on the refrigerator. He has produced hundreds of cover illustrations for major publishers across the United States. Robert lives in historic Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Select format:

Find books about:

More books in the series - See All

School Library Journal

Gr 3-5 -Noble's story, well told in simple descriptive language, shows both the prevalent mood of anxiety in Philadelphia in 1777, as the American colonists awaited the British attack, and the realistic side of war, the pathos of young lives lost, and the stubborn persistence and faith that helped the colonists win. Maddy Rose, the plucky young daughter of a widow whose earnings come from spinning flax, spends her days sewing seams in the linens her mother supplies to a local upholstery shop. At night, using her own hand-knit scarlet stockings and white petticoats, the girl leaves weekly signals on a clothesline, pointing out the location of suspicious ships in the harbor for her beloved brother, serving in General Washington's army. Several nights after she spies a British man-of-war, another boy comes in Jonathan's place, bearing her brother's blue coat in a bundle. After the British defeat, Maddy hangs an American flag made from that coat and her scarlet stockings and white petticoats on the clothesline. Papp is a master of portraiture. His soft, realistic, full- and double-page oils are finely detailed and appear to have been painted from live models. The action, facial expressions, and scenic detail keep many illustrations from appearing staged and static. Children with little knowledge of this period in American history will gain some background from Noble's story." -Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH" Copyright 2005 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Set in 1777 Philadelphia, The Scarlet Stockings Spy is a story about a young girl, Maddy Rose, who comes up with a simple and effective way to pass important information to General Washington, making it clear that the role of patriot has nothing to do with age."
— "Daily Record" (December 2004)
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Sleeping Bear Press
Publication date
October 20, 2004
Tales of Young Americans
BISAC categories
JUV016120 - Juvenile Fiction | Historical | United States - Colonial & Revolutionary Periods
Library of Congress categories
Brothers and sisters
United States
Revolution, 1775-1783
Philadelphia (Pa.)
North Carolina Children's Book Award
Nominee 2007 - 2007
Golden Sower Award
Nominee 2008 - 2008

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!