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Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood (A World War I Tale) Hardcover – May 13, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3–7—In the newest addition to this inventive series, Revolutionary War figure Nathan Hale tells the story of World War I with the support of two sidekicks who help shine light on some of the nuances of the historical event. The narrative explores why the war began, each country's role, battle tactics and technology implemented, and the lasting impact of the conflagration. Each country is represented by an animal, bringing to mind Art Spiegelman's iconic Maus (Pantheon, 1986). The facts are well researched and include statistics, as well as direct quotes from historical figures. The drawings are detailed and engaging, and the sparse use of color matches the tone of the tale. Not for the faint of heart, the book doesn't mince the gruesome, tragic reality of the Great War. The format lends itself as an effective presentation through the lens of Hale's sidekicks: a serious soldier who serves to clarify details, and an irreverent executioner who provides some much-needed comic relief. A mixture of textbook and slapstick, this essential read makes history come alive in a way that is relevant to modern-day life and kids.—Jenna Lanterman, formerly at The Calhoun School and Mary McDowell Friends School, New York City

From Booklist

The First World War is a complicated subject for even expert historians, so how can Hale squeeze it all into less than 130 pages? For starters, the focus is largely on the western front, he presents only the most pivotal battles, and, in what ends up being a clever way to distinguish between major players without a lot of text, each country involved is represented by an animal (Americans are bunnies). Yes, some of the conflicts come down to petty fighting between cartoon animals in military uniforms, but it’s an effective and simple way to communicate the complicated anger and nationalism that came to a boil in 1914. Hale also respectfully keeps the narrative from becoming too irreverent: amid the mood-lightening jokes are moments of real solemnity, such as when Gavrilo Princip pulls the trigger to assassinate Archduke Ferdinand and transforms from an animated griffin to a terrified human. Students bored to death by textbook descriptions of WWI battle maneuvers should be engaged by this entertaining, educational glimpse at world history. Grades 5-8. --Sarah Hunter
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (May 13, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419708082
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419708084
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nathan Hale is the author and illustrator of the Eisner-nominated, New York Times bestselling graphic novel series on American history Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales.

He is the illustrator of the graphic novel Rapunzel's Revenge and its sequel, Calamity Jack. He also illustrated Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody, The Dinosaurs' Night Before Christmas, and many others.

Learn more at www.spacestationnathan.blogspot.com

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on May 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a parent's review.

I have never seen the causes and action of World War One explained so clearly or memorably. The format is brilliantly done, incorporating little jokes, but handling serious material. This should be the way history is taught -- my kids have read and re-read this book, and we've only owned it one week. The learning sticks. I read it twice myself, to answer questions and for my own knowledge.

Top notch history. Excellent work. More books like this, please.

For an excellent book on the poem "In Flanders Fields," I recommend this one: In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae Get it for the illustrations. Beautiful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Farmershark on May 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My 10 year old son absolutely LOVED Donner Dinner Party, One Dead Spy, and Big Bad Ironclad, so I pre-ordered Treaties, Trenches, Mud and Blood. We've had it for two days, and he's reading it for the third time. Glad it comes in hardcover, because otherwise it would wear out too quickly!

Having read Donner Dinner Party myself (to make sure it was appropriate for children - the topic certainly seemed questionable!), I can confirm that Hale does a great job of educating while entertaining. He keeps the story appropriate for kids without speaking down to them.

My son is also reading the Eyewitness: World War I volume for more detail. I would recommend any of Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales, but this is definitely my son's favorite to date. Keep them coming! Would love to see one about the war in Vietnam.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Paschall on June 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We got these books for my 8 year old son. He hadn't shown much interest in history or much reading, but with these books, he actually enjoys them. He even asked for them for his birthday which floored my wife and I. My other kids, both older and younger enjoy them as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ivy on July 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am writing for my nine year old grandson, who has devoured the Nathan Hale series. When he mentioned the first three books, I had never heard of them, but he recounted, rather sadly, how difficult it was to get his hands on them at school. It seems his classmates, equally intrigued, stash them in their desks. Always a sucker for filling the kids' home book shelves, I purchased the entire series, which I am told have been read from cover to cover, more than once, by all three boys. I have not read any myself, so I can't comment from an adult point of view. That said, for readers in the intermediate grades, the Nathan Hale series seem to be a hit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GB on September 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
My eight-year-old son has now read all of the books in this series, and I've read a number of them with him. They're all good, but this one in particular seems, well, just remarkable. I honestly think that high school and perhaps even college-level classes would do well to use this as an introductory text when trying to understand WWI. The conceit is pretty brilliant--the narrator (Nathan Hale, but that's not even so important) is trying to explain this incredibly complicated geopolitical event to his own hangman, a very dim-witted guy who keep saying, basically, "huh?" To make it all easier for him (and at the guy's request), Hale represents each country as a different animal (Russia=Bears, England=Bulldogs, etc). This simple decision makes the whole mess SO much easier to imagine and follow. Also, the war itself is represented in the form of Ares, the god of war, who grows bigger and more frightening from year to year (the concept of metaphor is introduced and explored early on, with both humor and sophistication). I really can't say enough about this book. I think my kid has read it three times already, and he's full of knowledge and facts about various battles. He knows which countries were allied with which, and what happened at Ypres and the Somme. The final pages of the book (which are wonderful), show the author and his kids basically saying they will never undertake another project so ridiculously hard (an entire war!), but I really, really hope he will reconsider. This is such a terrific way to get kids to understand and interact with history. He should do WWII, anyway. Easy for me to say, I know. The amount of research and work that went into this WWI book is apparent and knocks me out. I'm a huge fan, and am planning to by copies to give to other boys my son's age (I suspect it might not be quite as popular with girls). Anyway, this book is a home run on all counts. I am a major fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Johanna Draper Carlson on April 27, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Nathan Hale sets out to tell the story of “the war to end all wars”, but the earthy Hangman gets bored early and demands “cute little animals” to make it more interesting. Thus, the book symbolizes each country of Europe in 1914 with some kind of beast wearing a hat: Russia’s a bear, Germany an eagle, France a rooster, England a bulldog, and America a bunny (since the eagle was already taken, and they avoided the war for so long).

As Hale tells it, nationalism and militarism lead to various mobilizations and conflicts. The numbers are overwhelming, too many to comprehend during the first section of the book, which portrays key battles. The second half of the book delves more into the technological changes, from trench warfare to poison gas, u-boats and bomber planes, to the introduction of the tank. American isolationism is also covered.

I really appreciate Nathan Hale’s (the author, not the character, although that applies too) ability to streamline complicated historical events in such readable fashion. There is a LOT of information here, but the book stays entertaining as the narrators spat and joke. There are also impressive markers, as each year is symbolized by increasingly demented full-page images of Ares dining on the many victims. The characters even reflect on them, as the Hangman says, “Holy mackerel! Greek gods, weird statues, animals in armor — this scene is completely batty!” while Hale calmly responds, “The causes of World War One are complicated.” (Review originally posted at ComicsWorthReading.com.)
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Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood (A World War I Tale)
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