Written By: Susan K. Mitchell
Who hasn’t dreamed of being a spy? Spies and Lies: Famous and Infamous Spies, part of “The Secret World of Spies” series, shows both the rewards and perils of espionage and reminds the reader that the best spies were never discovered.
The reality of spying may seem mundane to some readers when compared to Hollywood’s version of this profession, but the author manages to get some of the thrilling moments in her narrative. Third graders, who are starting to develop their own talents, will see how working with what you have is always best.
Women often make good spies because they don’t seem threatening. Belle Boyd, a charming and beautiful woman, was a very successful spy for the South during the Civil War. She charmed information from Union troops and helped win battles for Stonewall Jackson. Legend says that, at one point, she ran across a battlefield to deliver information. Josephine Baker, Julia Child, and Marlene Dietrich are mentioned as other women with beneficial talents.
Espionage has sometimes become a family business because then you don’t have to pretend with everyone. The Kuehns spied for Nazi Germany in Hawaii. They were only discovered because someone noticed they were flashing signals to the Japanese. The Walkers spied for the Soviet Union in U.S. And sisters, Ginnie and Lottie Moon, were two more Civil War spies.
Sometimes, even children have been spies. Agnes Daluge was a very small thirteen-year-old when she began helping Jews leave Nazi Germany. Dicey Langston was a fifteen-year-old spy during the American Revolution. Information is still coming to light about Romanian children spying for the government during the Cold War.
Even animals have been spies – birds, cats, and literal bugs.
The table of contents, index, glossary, and “To Find Out More” section are valuable for comprehension of the concepts. The author included a short section about becoming a modern-day spy. The publisher’s website, www.enslow.com, shows the other titles in this series and has a free pdf educator’s guide available, including many reading activities and reading worksheets.