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Blackbeard's Last Fight Hardcover – March 21, 2006

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4 It is 1718, and Blackbeard, recently pardoned by the governor of North Carolina, has settled in Ocracoke Inlet. Virginia's governor calls upon Lieutenant Robert Maynard of the Royal Navy to lead a group of mercenaries to execute the notorious buccaneer in a preemptive attack. Cabin boy Jeremy Hobbs listens to dreadful rumors about the pirate, but also hears surprisingly good reports about his generosity and charisma. As Jeremy bears witness to the battle, he contemplates the right and wrong of the action, the larger picture, and the mystery of the man who is Blackbeard. Basing his account on sources noted in an afterword, Kimmel retells this story with plenty of action and detail. His Blackbeard is not a sanitized caricature, and there are brandished cutlasses, smoking muskets, and dead bodies in the narrative. Descriptions of the pirate's decapitation and the strapping of his head to Maynard's bowsprit might alarm some youngsters. Still, readers will identify with Jeremy, who is both terrified and exhilarated. Fisher depicts the villain in all his fearsome glory. The battle scenes are sea-sprayed and wonderfully choreographed, full of colorful corsairs and straight-faced sailors. Although not for the fainthearted, this tale is an exciting and satisfying read. Kara Schaff Dean, Needham Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. Based on a real event that took place in the eighteenth century off the coast of North Carolina, this picture book for older children captures what occurred when the Royal Navy illegally attacked the famous pirate Blackbeard. The story is told through the perspective of Jeremy, a fictional cabin boy. The viewpoint seems contrived, in both story and pictures, especially when Jeremy learns about the legendary rascal's softer side (the devotion of his 16 wives and of the Africans he freed) and when he experiences Blackbeard's rough kindness before the pirate's death. What will grab kids is the sea battle, pictured in bright, dramatic paintings that show the pirate close up, his beard braided into little pigtails tied with green ribbons. Many kids will want to find out more about the rebel's stirring bloody history. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: AD670L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (March 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374307806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374307806
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 0.4 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,752,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eric A. Kimmel is a native New Yorker who lives in Oregon. He was born in Brooklyn, NY where he learned to love books and traditional stories from an early age. He could hear five different languages without leaving his block. Eric taught teachers as a professor of Education at Indiana University at South Bend and Portland State University. His favorite classes were children's literature, language arts, storytelling, and handwriting. He left the university in 1993 to become a full-time writer, a dream he had had since kindergarten.

Eric's books have won numerous awards. He and his wife Doris have traveled all over the world, sharing his books and stories with school children in China, Africa, and Turkey.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book doesn't dumb things down for children. It highlights the issue of legality of Lieutenant Maynard's attack after Blackbeard had in fact obtained a pardon.

The text is complex. It gives good detail. Yes, it is not a simple bedtime story, but a suitable book for discussing the history of pirating with a child who wants to move out of the world of pirate mythology and into learning the details.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While the book reviews indicate this is suitable for the grades 1 to 4, amazon's reading level is the better indicator of what the reader's interest will be (ages 9 to 12). My son (age 8, 3rd grade) already knew of the battle's outcome, and he's incredibly (almost comically) squeamish. None of that was the problem. The vocabulary and plot mechanisms are pretty advanced, and not all the plot transitions are smooth. My son was itching to find out more about Blackbeard and his last battle, but we both found this bood to be a snoozer because I had to spend so much time explaining things. I think this book is spot-on for the 9-to-12-aged reader, or an advanced younger reader. Or a child familiar with and/or fascinated by sailing, because I spent a lot of time explaining the navigational aspects of the story. Kudos to the author for historical accuracy (although the bit about Blackbeard's body circling the boat three times could have been addressed better in the explanatory endnotes) and to the illustrator for vivid (but not lurid) depictions. We'll be tucking this away in the bookshelf for another year or two, to try again later.
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