Monday, February 14, 2022

Review: By the Light of Fireflies by Jenni L. Walsh

 Today's review might be better suited for March, since it will be Women's History Month, but I've had this one on my radar for a few months, now, and didn't want to wait any longer. It takes young readers back to the Revolutionary War, George Washington, Paul Revere, and life during that period. I do like the cover, and fireflies catch my attention. Plus, well-done historical reads for middle graders are something I always love to discover.

Ready to jet back through time?

A Novel of War Hero Sybil Ludington
by Jenni L. Walsh
Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing
Middle Grade Historical
186 pages
ages 8 to 12

Sybil Ludington believes in the legend of fireflies—they appear when you need them most. But it's not until her family is thrust into the dangers of the Revolutionary War, and into George Washington's spy ring, that Sybil experiences firefly magic for herself—guiding her through the darkness, empowering her to figure out who she's supposed to be and how strong she really is—as she delivers her imperative message and warns against a British attack.

BY THE LIGHT OF FIREFLIES is the captivating tale of a young girl's journey as a daughter, a sister, a friend, a spy, and eventually a war hero, completing a midnight ride that cements her place in history as the "female Paul Revere."



Life during the Revolutionary War comes across with an amazingly, natural flow thanks to a girl, who packs a little spunk, tons of bravery, and a tiny pinch of magic.

Sybil knows her father is in a dangerous spot as an ex-officer for His Majesty's army, who in reality, supports the rebel cause. She wishes she could help, but isn't even allowed to take her own siblings to school without being accompanied by her friend, who is a boy. She's as good as him, although her mother insists Sybil needs to keep her head where it belongs and settle into her life as the girl she is. But when her father requests her help in building a spy ring, she finds herself caught up more and more in the revolution. Soon, she'll need to step past traditional roles to save those things she cares about most.

This is a short book and very well done. It starts out with a grabbing scene as Sybil's family is again being threatened by the British supporters, and her father is forced to make a difficult choice. But her life doesn't center only around this cause. The author lets Sybil live as a girl with a bit of spunk would, during the time frame. Her problems are relatable, despite the time difference, and her decisions and concerns are easy to understand. The author presents her in such a natural manner allowing Sybil to be a normal girl.

The details and information surrounding the time are dribbled in bit by bit, never breaking the flow of the tale. It allows the reader to sink in without feeling as if they are being taught. The tale grabs as the danger of the situation becomes more and more obvious. There's never a boring moment, but then, the book isn't long enough for there to be either. And that's also a huge bonus, since it never drags or bogs down. Still, dates, events, and important individuals are mentioned and weave in and out through the tale. The reader does learn about the history, gets a feeling for the situation, and connects with the events through the eyes of someone their age. But then, even as an adult, I enjoyed the story.

I do recommend this one, and not only for libraries or the homeschooling crowd. It's an enjoyable read for anyone who doesn't shy from a little adventure.


Natalie Aguirre said...

This sounds like a great story. I'll keep my eye out for it.

Rajani Rehana said...

Super blog

Heather N. Quinn said...

I love that cover! Sounds like an intriguing story.