"The Rebel Spy" by Norma Jean Lutz is the 23rd book in The American Adventure Series. The setting is in Cincinnati in 1862. The issue at hand in this book is the Civil War, including the advancement of the Confederate army northward and threatened attacks on Cincinnati. The moral/character themes covered in this book include: considering how war affected families emotionally, physically, and financially, using discernment when choosing who to trust, and having a good attitude about performing work you'd rather not have to do.
David and Daria Fisk's father agrees to be a captain in the army as a doctor. His leaving home means they are not only lonely and worried, but also short of money. When their mother decides that turning their home into a boarding house is the twins are less than enthusiastic. The first boarder that comes along is rather grumbly and it seems unfair that they have so many extra chores around the house. They realize, however, that some families are worse off and many have lost loved ones to the war.
There were some descriptions of war and the conditions at camps in this book, but none of them were too detailed or gruesome for my 6 year old to hear. There are no suspenseful war scenes described, so it is kept pretty mild, but the young men/older boy who thought running to war to be a drummer would be glorious does get a huge reality check and he expresses that clearly near the end of the book. While reading about war definitely encourages my kids to play soldiers and have pretend battles, I think this book did a good job of allowing sobering conversation about the devastating impact of wars as well.
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