Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mini-Review: Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales

 by Nathan Hale
Series: Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Harry N. Abrams
Age Recommendation: Late Elementary, Middle Grade

Summary (from Goodreads):
Nathan Hale, the author’s historical namesake, was America’s first spy, a Revolutionary War hero who famously said “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” before being hanged by the British. In the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, author Nathan Hale channels his namesake to present history’s roughest, toughest, and craziest stories in the graphic novel format.

One Dead Spy tackles the story of Hale himself, who was an officer and spy for the American rebels during the Revolutionary War. Author Hale highlights the unusual, gruesome, and just plain unbelievable truth of historical Nathan Hale—from his early unlucky days at Yale to his later unlucky days as an officer—and America during the Revolutionary War.

Since the release of Rapunzel's Revenge back in 2008, I have been a steadfast follower of illustrator Nathan Hale's blog, Space Station Nathan. When I heard he was writing a new historical graphic novel series inspired by his webcomic about Lewis and Clark (and the Bottle of Thunder!), I put it on my auto-buy list. When they came out, my brother and I got both books and spent the evening with them in our hands, swapping books when we had both finished the ones we were reading. Although we were both significantly out of the intended age range, we loved them.

Reading these books are a delightful way to spend an afternoon, whether you are learning about the events for the first time or have already taken more history classes than you care to count.

They present the historical material in a very digestible and entertaining way, and include a surprising amount of detail. There are also fantastic illustrations in the cartoon-y style shown on the two covers. The dialogue is informal with plenty of asides and jokes to break up the history. (Swedish swearing! Anacondas!)

Overall Thoughts: These books will easily keep kids interested, and I will happily pass along copies to my younger friends and cousins, as well as keeping copies for myself (to reread and reread and reread). Overall, a huge success from Nathan Hale. I can't wait for the next installments.

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