4 out of 5 Stars (mom) / 5 out of 5 Stars (kid)
Recently my son came home from school asking if we could find some very specific books. One of the other boys in class has been reading a graphic novel series all about various events in history and my son thought they sounded pretty awesome. We were at Powells Books and had a look for them and found several from the series and my son set to work reading them. As I get through them I will be reviewing them here. Last night I read One Dead Spy from Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales graphic novel series and I see why kids are crazy for them. They are just a lot of fun and make learning history interesting!
One Dead Spy is the story of the former Nathan Hale, a Revolutionary War hero (by American standards) who set out as a spy for the Americans, but was caught immediately and hanged by the British. Before he is put into the noose at the gallows he tells his story to both the Hangman and the British Soldier who brought him to where he would eventually die.
Mr. Hale (the one in the book) tells the story of the Revolutionary War and all of the events that lead up to him volunteering to spy for General Washington. There are several side stories that play out in fun and some times snarky ways and there is plenty of humor. There are also several side stories that he mentions but says they deserve their own book and then won’t go on (Benedict Arnold for instance).
Each book tries to stick as closely to history as possible but there is a bit of liberty taken with certain elements and he explains those in the back of the books. I also really appreciated the bibliography and the extra facts that were included about the various individuals that were represented in the book. One Dead Spy is really a fast read and we bought them because my son has a habit of rereading these sorts of books over and over (making it worth the money…otherwise I would just get these from the library!).
I also really liked the illustrations and battle scenes in this book were not at all gory but talked about how many soldiers were killed and you do see a few people laying on the ground. It is really no big deal at all.
These books are going to be great for kids 8/9 years old and up. There might be some challenging or new words for the younger kids trying to read these, but there isn’t anything that would scare them off. Reluctant readers will also appreciate the length of the book and there are “chapters” although they all kind of run together.
I highly recommend this book and will be reviewing the other books in the series so keep an eye open. The next one on my list to read is “Underground Abductor” – the story of Harriett Tubman!