Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale

Notable: Book #1 in the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series

Premise:

Nathan Hale is a young man who has enrolled at Yale to become a teacher, however, the Revolutionary War sends him down a different life path.  Hale enlists in the army and is promoted within a short period of time.  Though he commands other troops, Hale doesn’t see a lot of action.  In a bid to prove himself, he volunteers to be Washington’s first spy–to learn what he can about the plans of the British army.  Unfortunately, things take at turn for the worse for this promising young man once he enters enemy territory.

My thoughts:

Since this is the first book in the series, it introduces readers to the three ongoing main characters: the Hangman, the British Soldier and Nathan Hale.  The premise is that while Nathan is waiting on the gallows to be hanged, he’s swallowed by a giant history book and absorbs all of the knowledge that it contains about U.S. history.  When he comes out of the book, he convinces the Hangman and Soldier to wait to hang him until he can tell them his story.  (After his story, they agree to wait so that he can tell them another interesting story from American history.)  I should also mention that the books in this series don’t really need to be read in order.

Hale’s personal story is fairly simple.  He was a young man with dreams of doing something brave for his country and that was largely denied him because he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Once he volunteers to spy for Washington, it’s easy to see that he’s not exactly the ideal candidate, but it’s admirable that he is willing to give all in the service of his country.  A spy needs to be a bit more jaded and cunning than Hale was, and his naiveté worked against him in his role as spy.  It’s sad that his life was cut short at such a young age, but he certainly wasn’t the only young man to die during that time period to secure freedom for America.

At the end of the the book there’s a bit more biographical information about some of the more colorful characters in the story, and a section with the story of Crispus Attucks–both very interesting.

This book isn’t my favorite in the series, but I think that’s because the author was finding his way and experimenting with this first book.  In later books, I think he has managed to hone his style and creativity in storytelling a little more.  With that said, I still think it’s a worthwhile read.

I’ve really come to like the author’s style of illustrations.  They definitely appeal to a younger audience, but I think they’re just as engaging for older folks, too.  I love learning about history this way!  Both of my boys read the book, and they want to read the entire series.  No problem, boys!

I recommend Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy 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.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence (though the illustrations are not graphic)

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Advertisements

Nathan Hale: Revolutionary Spy by Nathan Olson

nathan-hale-revolutionary-spy

This post contains an affiliate link.

Here’s another book from my quest to find interesting graphic novels.  Nathan Hale: Revolutionary Spy is a book that can be digested in one sitting.

Premise:

Nathan Hale was a young man who lived in Connecticut immediately prior to the Revolutionary War.  He was a student at Yale and later taught others (even getting up to teach girls for free).  Having grown up amid the colonists’ unrest due to British taxes, he volunteered to join the army.  Nathan’s willingness to serve as a spy and his refusal to betray his country are commendable.  Unfortunately, his life was cut short when he was only 21 years old.

My thoughts:

I think this book is a great beginner biography for elementary-age children.  They get a quick overview of Nathan’s life–just enough to pique their interest.  Once they’re at a higher reading level they can come back to Nathan’s story and read a book that is more in depth.

I enjoyed reading about Nathan and the defining moments in his life.  He sounds like a remarkable young man, and it’s a tragedy that his life was cut short.  I’m sure he would have gone on to do many more commendable deeds had he lived longer.  Particularly gratifying was his view on the importance of educating women.  He was truly ahead of his times!

The book is divided into four very short chapters: Student and Teacher, Soldier and Leader, Daring Spy, and War Hero.  At the end, you’ll find a section with more information about Nathan Hale.

I recommend this book to kids who enjoy graphic novels and would prefer to learn about history through that medium.  This particular book is best suited to elementary-age children.

Possible Objections:

  • Nathan is hanged (while we only see his silhouette, kids may still find it disturbing)

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

Light Fantastic

This post contains an affiliate link.

The Light Fantastic is the sequel to The Color of Magic, which I reviewed earlier.  This book picks up the story where the previous book left off, in the middle of the adventures of Rincewind (a wizard) and Twoflower (a wealthy tourist).  There are some new characters in this book, who add a bit of fun to the story.  Cohen, the aging hero, is quite entertaining.  I’ve also come to admire the Luggage much more, as his loyalty to his owner continues on through the story.

The story basically boils down to Rincewind and Twoflower going on an epic adventure, though one man is trying to keep from dying, while the other thinks it is the best vacation he’s ever been on.  A strong parallel story is the jockeying of wizards for positions of power, which enters into the spotlight more at the very end.

I certainly enjoyed the book and have had fun getting to the know the characters better.  Like the previous book, the action and characters are all over the place.  It can get a little confusing, but I still think the overall story is charming.  (My husband tells me that the Discworld really starts to come into clearer focus around the third or fourth book.)

So…will you give it a go?  Have you already read it?  If so, what did you think?

Possible Objections:

  1. Some rude language.
  2. Several references to things of a sexual nature.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER THE LIGHT FANTASTIC POSTS:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Premise:

Jane Eyre is an orphan who endures a fair amount of misfortune in her life, yet she takes advantage of the opportunities that come her way.  By getting a good education, she is able to strike off into the world to start her own life.  She ends up as governess for a ward of Mr. Rochester, her eventual love interest.  Through some fairly radical circumstances, Jane and Mr. Rochester are separated, but eventually true love wins out, and they are reunited.  I have omitted a lot of the story, but this gives you the main gist of it.

My thoughts:

This is one of my favorite books.  I go back to read it every few years, as the urge strikes.  Whether for good or bad, I’m a sucker for classic stories that have a romantic twist to them.  This book fits that description, but it’s more complex than your typical love story.

The main characters in this book have a richness and depth that makes them truly lovable.  As you read, you actually begin to care about what happens to them.  I suppose that’s the mark of a good writer–they make you care about the subject matter.  Jane is the underdog, and you will probably find yourself rooting for her success fairly early on.

It’s satisfying to see a plain and rather ordinary heroine triumph over life’s adversities and find happiness in her relationships, as well.  Though Jane has been dealt a bad hand in life, she still has hope that things will turn out better and she’s willing to do what she can to secure some peace and happiness for herself.

I recommend Jane Eyre to all the ladies out there who like an old-fashioned romantic story.

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER JANE EYRE POSTS:

Save

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane EyreThis post contains an affiliate link.

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books.  I go back to read it every few years, as the urge strikes.  Whether for good or bad, I’m a sucker for classic stories that have a romantic twist to them.  This book fits that description, but it’s more complex than your typical love story.

Jane Eyre is an orphan who endures a fair amount of misfortune in her life, yet she takes advantage of the opportunities that come her way.  By getting a good education, she is able to strike off into the world to start her own life.  She ends up as governess for a ward of Mr. Rochester, her eventual love interest.  Through some fairly radical circumstances, Jane and Mr. Rochester are separated, but eventually true love wins out, and they are reunited.  I have omitted a lot of the story, but this gives you the main gist of it.

The main characters in this book have a richness and depth that makes them truly lovable.  As you read, you actually begin to care about what happens to them.  I suppose that’s the mark of a good writer–they make you care about the subject matter.  Jane is the underdog, and you will probably find yourself rooting for her success fairly early on.

It’s satisfying to see a plain and rather ordinary heroine triumph over life’s adversities and find happiness in her relationships, as well.  If only real life were so simple.

If you’re a lady who enjoys a good romantic story, Jane Eyre may be right up your alley.  Let me know what you think of it!

 

Possible Objections:

  1. God is mentioned several times.  This book is definitely written with a Christian worldview in mind.  Even if you’re not a Christian, there is enough substance to the story to keep you interested.
  2. The language is rather challenging, if you’re not used to reading classical literature.  Keep a dictionary nearby, and be patient with yourself.  If you stick with it, you’ll eventually get the hang of interpreting this old-fashioned language.  🙂

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER JANE EYRE POSTS:

 

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Color of Magic 1This post contains an affiliate link.

Let me just start out by saying that my husband and I are both Terry Pratchett fans.  I know that his books are not everyone’s cup of tea.  It really takes a certain type of person to appreciate his books.  You have to appreciate English humor, especially its subtlety.  You should be a fan of fantasy literature, and it helps if you’re a bit of a geek.  If you fit those requirements, I highly recommend his writing to you.

The Color of Magic is the first in the Discworld series of books about a fantasy land and a wide cast of unique inhabitants.  This land isn’t really restricted by things like gravity, probability, absolutes of time and space, etc.  It’s a fantasy world that does not take itself seriously and which can change in the blink of an eye.

Since this is the first book in the series, you should expect it to be less polished than later books.  While I did enjoy it immensely, I can see how the story doesn’t flow quite as smoothly as others that I’ve read.  The plot seems somewhat disjointed and the sheer number of characters and places introduced can be bewildering, as well.

If you’re a Pratchett fan, read the book anyway.  If you want to be a Pratchett fan–read it.  If you want to follow the advice of a total stranger–read it.

Let me know what you thought of the book!

Possible Objections:

  1. Lots of violence–it’s how many issues are solved.
  2. There are plenty of allusions to things of a sexual nature.
  3. One kingdom is full of barely clothed people.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER THE COLOR OF MAGIC POSTS: