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Yesterday I finished Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad!, another historical graphic novel by Nathan Hale.
In this book, Nathan Hale tells the Hangman and the British Soldier a tale about ironclad ships which fought during the American Civil War. Both the North and South experimented with covering wooden ships with thick iron, both to make them impervious to enemy fire and to use as a formidable offensive weapon.
This is a really fun way to teach kids about a lesser known aspect of the Civil War. When I was a kid I never heard anything about the iron-covered ships that were used during the Civil War. The designs were ingenious and, unfortunately, caused a lot of destruction.
We also learn about the exploits of Will Cushing, a young man who enjoyed pulling pranks, was kicked out of the Navy, and later went on to do great exploits when his pranks were put to good use in the Navy. His tale adds the personal element that I think this story would otherwise be lacking.
The way this story is told is a bit meandering and not terribly cohesive, but I think that’s because it’s talking about the concept of iron ships, rather than a specific event in history. Also, it doesn’t cover the entire story of the Civil War. If you want your child to understand more about the overarching story of the Civil War, you’ll have to supplement their reading. With that being said, I still think this is a great book to teach kids about history!
I recommend Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad! to kids who enjoy graphic novels and would prefer to learn about history through that medium. Even for older folks, it’s a fun way to learn about history.
Rating: 4 Stars
Until next time…