Photo from Amazon.com
Review by Sandra Horning
Both my 4 and 8 year old sons were taken with Patience Wright, Americaâ€™s First Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy. What child doesnâ€™t love a good spy story? And what a story it is!
Born to a Quaker family in 1725, Patience grew up in the American colonies and showed a talent for sculpting clay at a young age. In mid life she began to sculpt wax and her reputation for creating life-like sculptures grew. As a result her work was desired by many prominent Americans. Her success led her to open a studio in London. As a well-known artist, she had many political figures among her customers, including the king and queen.
When the American colonies started revolting against England, Patience was suddenly in an important position, as she was friendly with both English and colonial leaders. As Patience worked with some of her English customers, she led them to reveal secret information. Then Patience wrote this information down and hid it in the hollow busts of her sculptures that were going to America. Thus, she became a spy.
The realistic gauche-and-pastel illustrations of wax figures and early America bring the text to life. My younger son kept asking which illustration is the sculpture and which is Patience. This is a fun read for young historians, with additional information about Patience and the revolutionary war included at the end. But historian or not, if you havenâ€™t heard of Patience Wright, this is a must read about an extraordinary woman. Questions about wax sculpting and spying are sure to go on for several days.