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Thunder From the Sea: The Adventures of Jack…

Thunder From the Sea: The Adventures of Jack Hoyton and the H.M.S.…

by Jeff Weigel

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“Thunder from the Sea” is a graphic novel for older children about one of England’s ships in the Napoleonic wars. The HMS Defender (1804-1809) was assigned to patrol the English Channel to defend against French attack.

End pages show diagrams of the ship, with labels and explanations. A very understandable history of The Napoleonic Wars, along with a map, comprises the first page. The last page has a bibliography and recommended reading list. The pages of the story in between have side panels with further explanation and diagrams of terms, items or points made within the story, such as press gangs, naval weapons, sleeping quarters, etc.

The story is told from the point of view of a twelve-year-old boy serving on the ship. I found the story engaging, well told, and exceptionally informative. ( )
  countrylife | Feb 4, 2014 |
A twelve-year-old boy works on the HMS Defender for the British navy and helps defend the ship from the French. Book includes many historical details, including vocabulary, in the sidebars as story progresses in graphic novel format.
  SASegsworth | Jun 13, 2013 |
Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

This book is a bit unique in it's presentation. First, it is oversized like a picture book. Then it tells a fictional tale about life aboard a mid size ship during the Napoleonic Wars. Jack is a 12 yo orphan (mostly) who is sent to work in the navy and this ship's job is to patrol the waters protecting England from French invasion. They meet up with more than they expected when they come across a hidden French boatyard and are attacked by a French Man-o-War and betrayed by a spy amongst them. While the story is fictional each page has a sidebar with non-fiction information relating to information found on that page. These tidbits of trivia range from definitions of items such as a "frigate" or "bosun" to describing in further detail concepts such as "impressment" or "Beat to Quarters" to more detailed histories of "relations between the Irish and English" or "how the French Army conscription workers".

The story itself is entertaining and makes wide use of various differing frames from full page to tall thin rectangles to the occasional circle. I found the non-fiction information more entertaining than the story though. But my main problem was that the sidebars consistently interrupted the flow of the story. I recommend reading the story straight through the first time ignoring the sidebars just to be able to enjoy the action-packed story of a boy third class's life aboard ship and a battle at sea during the Napoleonic Wars. Then go back a second time reading the sidebars either alone or as you re-read the story for the non-fiction historical aspect.

I'm not sure how well this book would do as one kids would choose for themselves, but it would be perfect used in the classroom or homeschool and is certainly a library recommended have. ( )
  ElizaJane | Jan 2, 2011 |
This is an historical sea story I'm much more excited about!

(Much more excited than what, you ask? I'm not quite sure. Maybe that John Paul Jones biography I was reading. This is what happens when you write 3 months worth of daily blog posts in advance and then, ahem, reorganize them constantly)

Jack Hoyton is only twelve when he enlists in the Royal Navy, but his first few months at sea change him forever, as he and the HMS Defender fight against Napoleon's forces.

The story doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of life at sea in the early 1800s. Brutal punishments, cramped spaces, bad food, and the daily dangers of sailing are increased by battles with the French and even betrayal from among Jack's new friends. Weigel conveys the danger, emotion, and history without being too graphic, so this is appropriate for 5th grade and up.

The riveting, action-packed story is filled in with accessible panels of historical information about daily life as well as politics and historical events. In addition to the exciting story and historical context, Weigel gives the characters depth and perspective, making their different circumstances and motivations live for the reader. The panels are clearly defined and the art is crisp and bold. I especially appreciate the very readable text - there's plenty of dialogue, action, and description crammed into the story, but you don't need a magnifying glass to read it!

Verdict: Buy it! Give it to kids who like comics, lots of action, history, or just a good story!

ISBN: 978-0399250897; Published May 2010 by Putnam; Borrowed from the library
  JeanLittleLibrary | Sep 20, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399250891, Hardcover)

Illustrated in comic-book format with detailed informational sidebars, this high-concept hybrid is a fast-paced action-adventure?like a Patrick O?Brian novel for kids!

Jack Hoyton is just a boy when he enlists in the Royal Navy and is assigned to the HMS Defender, a midsized frigate defending the British Isles from invasion by the French emperor Napoleon. Little could have prepared him for the hard work and danger of life on the high seas, or for the strict military discipline aboard the ship during wartime. While blockading a French port, the crew of the Defender gets into more trouble than they planned for when they are betrayed during an excursion ashore. It is up to Jack to free his imprisoned shipmates and warn the Defender that they are headed into a deadly trap!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:31 -0400)

Jack Hoyton is only twelve years old when he enlists in the Royal Navy and is assigned to the HMS Defender. He learns about discipline and danger, and when the ship is betrayed by a spy, it is up to Jack to let the crew know that the Defender is headed into a trap!… (more)

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