Cover image for Redcoats and petticoats
Redcoats and petticoats
Kirkpatrick, Katherine.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume ( unpaged) : color illustrations; 27 cm
Members of a family in the village of Setauket on Long Island are displaced by the Redcoats and serve as spies for the Revolutionary Army of George Washington.
Reading Level:
420 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.5 0.5 29496.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.2 3 Quiz: 22307 Guided reading level: P.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



The story of a spy ring on Long Island during the American Revolution.

Author Notes

Katherine Kirkpatrick is the author of fiction and nonfiction books for young readers, all reflecting her fascination with history. These include The Snow Baby and Redcoats and Petticoats. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Ronald Himler has illustrated more than a hundred books for children, including several books in the Picture Book Biography series. He lives in Arizona.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5. First, British soldiers arrested his father as a traitor, then the Redcoats took over the house. Soon after, 13-year-old Thomas Strong recalls, his mother moved the family to a small waterfront cottage and commenced such odd activities as hanging petticoats daily on the clothesline and sending Thomas rowing long distances in search of a whaleboat. So it was, unbeknownst to him, that young Thomas Strong participated in a spy ring during the Revolutionary War. Nancy Strong's petticoats were a vital link in a spy chain that conveyed secret messages to General George Washington in Connecticut. Through Thomas' first-person account, readers sense the humiliation suffered and the danger survived by the youth. Himler's dramatic watercolors will engage readers, drawing them further into the story's intrigue. Historical notes on the Strong family and its role in the Revolution, together with maps of the Long Island site of the action, complete this alluring glimpse at a fascinating episode in America's past. --Ellen Mandel

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-It is 1778 and the Revolution has come to Setauket, Long Island. Thomas Strong, son of a loyal Patriot who has been imprisoned by the Tories, tells how he is sent to search for a neighbor's whaleboat and report the location to his mother. Unknown to him, Thomas's mother then hangs specific petticoats or handkerchiefs on the clothesline as a code to pass on the information to the Patriots across the Long Island Sound. It is only when the war is over and he meets General Washington that Thomas realizes just what part his family played in the Setauket Spy Ring. Historical picture books can bring the past alive in a simple and appealing manner, but when the history gets in the way of the story, or vice versa, problems occur. This book falls short on both accounts. There is not enough historical information to make the story clear and not enough story to personalize the facts. Only after carefully studying the map and historical notes at the end of the book does the plot become understandable. The text is just not cohesive and there are many "whys?" within the pages of this valiant but flawed effort. Himler's illustrations are a real plus. They help to clarify difficult passages and his pastel watercolors give a soft, personal touch to each event. For supplemental material, especially in New York State history classes, this might be helpful when thoroughly and properly introduced.-Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.