Cover image for Sybil Ludington : Revolutionary War rider
Sybil Ludington : Revolutionary War rider

Based on a true story

Sybil Ludington.
Abbott, E. F., author.

Young, Karen Romano Sybil Ludington.

Hansen, Clint, illustrator.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Physical Description:
184 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm.
Based on a true story
A fictionalized account of the sixteen-year-old girl, trained to handle a musket, who rode alone over forty miles in New York to bring out the militia before the Battle of Ridgefield.


Material Type
Shelf Number
Item Holds
Book J F ABBOTT Youth Reading Level Fiction

On Order



What would you do if your country was counting on you to deliver a message? That's sixteen-year-old Sybil Ludington's urgent mission.

In 1777, Sybil and her family believe the American colonies should be free from British control. Sybil's father leads a regiment of New York militiamen, and everyone in the family is dedicated to the Patriot cause. Using spy tactics and codes, the Ludingtons gather intelligence, hoping to stay one step ahead of their enemies. When British troops raid nearby Danbury, Connecticut, Sybil gallops through the night to call out her father's men. But the journey is dangerous for a girl who's allalone. With obstacles at every turn, will she make it in time to stop the British?

Based on a True Story books by E.F. Abbott are exciting historical fiction about real children who lived through extraordinary times in American History. This title has Common Core connections.

Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Once upon a midnight dreary, Sybil Ludington rode weak and weary. Hers is a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, as she rode in darkness from house to house, rapping, rapping her maple branch upon each and every patriot's door. This is the often overlooked and true story of Ludington, brought to life in a work of historical fiction. When British troops are spied burning the homes and storehouses in the nearby town of Danbury, CT, Col. Henry Ludington dispatches his 16-year-old daughter Sybil to wake soldiers in the surrounding areas and bid them to rally toward her home and prepare for the battle ahead. Sybil's harrowing ride was twice the distance of Paul Revere's and would span nearly eight hours in the pouring rain. During that time, young women were never seen riding alone at night, forcing Sybil to defend herself against lecherous highwaymen and the suspicions of enemy soldiers. Abbott does a fine job in creating the 18th-century world of the American Revolution. History teachers will delight in the thorough descriptions of rebel espionage strategies and the images of their coded messages. VERDICT This will make a solid addition to library collections, as there is a dearth of materials regarding the brave acts of females and young people during the Revolutionary War.-Maria Alegre, The Dalton School, New York City © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

War becomes a family affair in this women-­centered tale, spun around real, though scantily documented, events in 1777. Redcoats are marching through New York's Dutchess County, and 16-year-old Sybil fears for her father, a rebel colonel with a price on his head. Though girls aren't allowed to be soldiers, Sybil learns to use a musket and disguises herself as a boy to spy on local gatherings. And when word comes that Danbury has been occupied, she resolutely rides out alone to call the militia. Abbot tucks in plenty of plot points that can be used as discussion topics: a Quaker character, a dark-skinned escapee on her way to Canada, an army deserter. Illustrations, a mix of new art and older images, are also included. Though the language is occasionally anachronistic, and the large, mostly fictional cast can be a bit unwieldy, this is a moderately suspenseful story that is free of overt violence. Readers will admire Sybil for her fortitude and appreciate the insight they gain into her time.--Peters, John Copyright 2015 Booklist