Friday, September 17, 2010

Thunder from the sea: Adventure on board the HMS Defender by Jeff Weigel

This is an historical sea story I'm much more excited about!

(Much more excited than what, you ask? I'm not quite sure. Maybe that John Paul Jones biography I was reading. This is what happens when you write 3 months worth of daily blog posts in advance and then, ahem, reorganize them constantly)

Jack Hoyton is only twelve when he enlists in the Royal Navy, but his first few months at sea change him forever, as he and the HMS Defender fight against Napoleon's forces.

The story doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of life at sea in the early 1800s. Brutal punishments, cramped spaces, bad food, and the daily dangers of sailing are increased by battles with the French and even betrayal from among Jack's new friends. Weigel conveys the danger, emotion, and history without being too graphic, so this is appropriate for 5th grade and up.

The riveting, action-packed story is filled in with accessible panels of historical information about daily life as well as politics and historical events. In addition to the exciting story and historical context, Weigel gives the characters depth and perspective, making their different circumstances and motivations live for the reader. The panels are clearly defined and the art is crisp and bold. I especially appreciate the very readable text - there's plenty of dialogue, action, and description crammed into the story, but you don't need a magnifying glass to read it!

Verdict: Buy it! Give it to kids who like comics, lots of action, history, or just a good story!

ISBN: 978-0399250897; Published May 2010 by Putnam; Borrowed from the library

No comments: