Saturday, September 4, 2010

Iron Thunder Review

Book Talk: Tom's father is dead and he doesn't even know exactly how or where.  All he knows is that his father died fighting for the union and now he has to find a job to support his family.  A small, thirteen-year-old like Tom can't afford to be picky, so when he's offered a job building a new ironcald ship under Captain Ericsson he takes it, even though everyone calls the ship Ericsson's Folly. No one can see how a ship made of metal will ever be able to float.  But the longer he works there, the more faith he has in Captain Ericsson and his ironclad ship.  And he's not the only one--spies are coming at him in the street to try and get information.  Should he take their money and betray the Union his father died fighting for or should he risk sailing on the iron ship and hope he doesn't end up on the bottom of the sea?  Will the boat even be finished in time to save the Union cause?  Captain Ericsson may be a genius, but he has a touch of madness to him as well.

Rocks My Socks: Normally I don't much care for war novels and I get bored quickly during battle scenes, but this one held my attention throughout.  I found the historic details fascinating and I like the specificity of it--focusing on the building of the Monitor and its famous battle against the Merrimac instead of trying to encompass the entire sweep of the Civil War.  I also love the additions to the text--the pages of headlines to provide context and the actual photographs and drawings from that period mixed in with the illustrations for the story.  There's also a glossary, further information on the real events in the book, and a bibliography at back, which I always appreciate.

Rocks In My Socks: The characters weren't very complex or layered.  I didn't feel particularly attached to any of them.  The story was really more about the Monitor than Tom.

Every Book Its Reader: I'd recommend this to 8-12 year-olds with an interest in historical fiction or the Civil War.  The amount of detail about the period would make it a great read to supplement and personalize a unit on the Civil War.  The novel is geared towards boys more and has very little female presence, but that's war novels for you.

Iron Thunder, by Avi

No comments:

Post a Comment