Elvira Woodruff

Scholastic, $16.99, 240 pages

Four boys lead ordinary lives of campouts, homework, and new sneakers…except for that time an old rowboat transported them to Revolutionary War times. They swore never to go near the boat again — until one boy’s younger sister and two neighbors got into the eerie rowboat. Transported to colonial times, the group of seven gets separated, some finding shelter with Tories and others with Rebels. One of the boys even works as a spy! In the panic of Boston in 1776 will the two groups be able to find their way home?

Often history is a boring list of dates, places, and names. But George Washington’s Spy tells the story of average citizens caught up in the day’s politics. Although history is often presented as “good guys” vs. “bad guys” this books looks at the lives of Tories and Rebels showing that history is not black and white. George Washington’s Spy uses excitement, colonial ick factor and the funny collision of modern kids with colonial times to sneak in a few history lessons. An effective tool for teachers of reluctant history students.

Reviewed by Jodi M. Webb