Monday, August 12, 2013

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad! (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #2) by Nathan Hale

Book two continues the story of  Nathan Hale who is still trying to avoid the noose by telling stories from the future in this hilarious graphic novel that involves the invention of ironclad warships in the Civil War. The childish hangman is back along with the cynical British Provost. Backdrop from the first book has four characters discussing how Nathan Hale was to be hanged as a spy when a humungous history book swallowed him whole then burped him up giving him the mysterious ability to see into the future. An African American, Billy, brings a new rope to the platform and Nathan Hale tells him he will be the first African American international prizefighter. Hangman asks Billy to "show me your best punch" to which he obliges leaving Hangman to warble, "Ow. That story hurt." Nathan Hale asks if Hangman wants to hear another story to which he replies, "One with less face punching, please." The Provost says, "We might as well. But I don't want any more nonsense about the Americans beating the British in this war." The witty dialogue, action, and famous characters make this a page turner that I liked even more than the first book.

To keep all the characters straight the author uses catchy names and pictures such as Lincoln calling his Navy Secretary with a long white beard, "Father Neptune"; Stephen Mallory with his razor teeth and hair fashioned into a shark's fin is dubbed, "Sharkface,"; and last, Neptune's assistant, Foxy, is drawn as an actual fox. Toss in the Swedish inventor who blew up a President's cabinet before being given the job of making a warship made of iron; a prankster, Will Cushing, who uses this odd talent to foil the enemy; to Hangman, who interrupts the story because he has to go to the bathroom. My favorite line is when Hangman asks for all of Cushing's stories and Nathan Hale says he can't tell them all because there are too many. "I want to hear all of them," Hangman growls. "Well, you can look in the back of this book at the bibliography." "Oh! I'll do that!" Hangman says excitedly. "Do you even know what a bibliography is?" asks the cynical British Provost. "Of course I do!" Hangman winks at the reader and whispers, "I hanged a librarian last week!"

This book is in blue tones representing Union soldiers; whereas, book one is in red tones to represent the British redcoats. A nice aide to help readers keep straight that book one takes place during the Revolutionary War and book two takes place during the Civil War - not to mention it saves on publishing costs. The back of the book tells what facts the author made up and what was true. Yep,  "Sharkface" is made up, but Lincoln did call his Naval Secretary, "Father Neptune." The research babies are back with their crotchety attitudes complaining about Hangman, "Be careful with the research materials, you Philistine!" to showing disgust at a long title of a book in the impressive Bibliography. Guaranteed laughter.

5 Smileys

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