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Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2016 #120/ Reviews: Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales

18 May

nfpb2016

One of my Author Reading Challenges this year is to read Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series. And, once you read one, you’d want to read them all!

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: One Dead SpyNathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One Dead Spy introduces a great graphic novel series for readers who may or may not like history. I’m in the latter camp but Nathan Hale (the author and not the titular character) presents these war tales in such a way that’s gripping and exciting. I enjoyed learning about all the major players and events during the American War of Independence.

Includes a mini comic about Crispus Attucks, biography, bibliography, and a corrections section.
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Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad!Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad! by Nathan Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Big Bad Ironclad focuses on the Civil War’s maritime battles as the North and South both race to build the bigger and better ironclads. I really thought the subject matter was going to bore me and I was worried they were going to get all unnecessarily cutesy when they turned a human into a fox but I was hooked and was introduced to more fascinating heroes of history.

Includes a biography and bibliography as well as a corrections section.
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Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner PartyNathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party by Nathan Hale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
An interesting choice for a kid’s graphic novel series. At what age does the topic of cannibalism come up? But I liked the part that readers could choose to skip certain pages if they didn’t want to read those particular sections although by then it’s too late. They would’ve needed to know what it is to know if they wanted to avoid it. As for the actual event, what a tragic unnecessary thing full of misfortune.

There were too many characters to keep track of for my liking. I know, I know… Some of you are going to say, “But most of them died.” But still!
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Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales, #4)Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood by Nathan Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a major undertaking to tackle a whole world war but Nathan Hale managed to do it in a way that while leaving lots of parts out managed to get lots of parts in. I admit I don’t like having to keep track of a large cast of characters and where each of their loyalty lay and I hated the “animalizing” of each country but it actually helped. As one reads on you can’t but feel the consequences of war and how it’s up to us as citizens of this one world we all live in to not let it happen again.
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Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor (An Abolitionist Tale about Harriet Tubman)Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
While I don’t like a large cast, somehow having the focus mostly on one person didn’t work well for me. I mean I loved learning how incredible Harriet Tubman was- to continually put herself in the line of danger for the sake of others and their freedom is truly admirable. Wow! But the book could have been maybe about two or three other freedom fighters.
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Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Alamo All-StarsNathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Alamo All-Stars by Nathan Hale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I now know what the Alamo I’m suppose to remember is about. I appreciated all the new things (storytelling devices?) in this installment to try and keep it fresh I guess but I felt it was too much. A guest narrator, two maps, a flowchart. If this was a TV show, one might say it was jumping the shark.
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(Nathan Hale, the Hang Man, and the Red Coat also make appearances in a couple of anthologies sharing more hazardous tales- “Hugh Glass: Dead Man Crawling” from Guys Read: True Stories edited by Jon Scieszka and “Lunch Bomb 1943” from Comics Squad #2: Lunch! edited by Matthew Holm, Jennifer Holm, and Jarrett J. Krosoczka.)

While it seems I haven’t been crazy about the latest books, I am still a big fan of Nathan Hale’s series. I think the biggest draw for me has been learning about moments in history in such a cool new way. The amount of research is definitely appreciated. Having that moment at the end of why that event or incident was so important to be shared is very crucial to not only the enjoyment but also what makes this series unique.

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3 responses to “Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2016 #120/ Reviews: Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales

  1. Michele

    May 18, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    I saw on Goodreads you were on a Hale kick! I have the Alamo one and Underground Railroad. Just need to read them 🙂 I do think it’s great that books like these are giving kids a new way to access history.

     
  2. Linda Baie

    May 18, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    I haven’t read any of these, will try to look for them at the library! Thanks Earl!

     
  3. annettepimentel

    May 19, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    So interesting to read about your responses to individual titles. I’ve usually heard about them all lumped together. Thanks for the reviews!

     

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