- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: GN270L (What's this?)
- Series: Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales
- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; First Edition edition (August 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 141970396X
- ISBN-13: 978-1419703966
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 102 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy Hardcover – August 1, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3-8-One Dead Spy begins as Nathan Hale is about to be hanged. He was not a very good spy. But in the hands of Nathan Hale, the present-day graphic novelist, he makes an excellent narrator. American history is hilarious in these lively, rigorously researched, visually engaging stories. α(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
About the Author
Nathan Hale is the illustrator of the graphic novel Rapunzel’s Revenge, which was an Al Roker Book Club for Kids selection, an ALA Notable Book, and a YALSA Great Graphic Novel for Teens and earned three starred reviews. He is also the illustrator of several picture books. He lives in Provo, Utah, with his wife and their two children.
Top customer reviews
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This book focuses on the Revolutionary War from the perspective of the historic Nathan Hale (not the author of the same name), and thus, the battles he was mostly involved in. Along the way, readers also get to know Henry Knox, Ethan Allen, Ben Tallmadge, George Washington, Thomas Knowlton, Major Robert Rodgers, and a short postscript story about Crispus Attucks. Hale knows a way to make history come alive like few others. He manages to make things funny and entertaining, and thus very memorable. Readers will come away from this with a much better understanding of the Battles in Boston and New York City. I really appreciate the bibliographic material provided which explains where the author took some creative license because details are hard to find. I also appreciate it because I think I am going to have to hunt down some of the ones on Henry Knox. That guy is a hilarious character in this book, and I want to know more about him. Also, I have a fairly good grasp of history, but I did not remember the part about Washington getting his forces to construct a fort that would "magically" appear over night. Hale unwinds that tale quite entertainingly. If you want history in an easy-to-swallow dose, try out this series.
Notes on content: Around five historic quotes with minor swear words. No sexual content. Since the history depicted is war time, there are several deaths mentioned. When dead are shown though, they are usually cartoon style, as in, men lying on the ground looking normal except with Xs for eyes. Hale keeps the gore to a minimum, but does depict characters in deep sorrow over deaths. Some black eyes and scratches are shown. A cow is blown to bits at one point (a historical fact), but is just drawn as a cartoon "Kaboom" with black dots around it.
In 2012 Nathan Hale and Amulet Books started a series of graphic novels based on American History, under the banner (literally) "Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales." The first book in the series is "One Dead Spy," and it and the following books are interesting, easy to follow, and downright entertaining. I’m buying every one of them.
"One Dead Spy" is about Nathan Hale (the patriot), executed in 1776, at the very beginning of the American Revolution. The 128-page hardcover comic begins with Manhattan in flames, and a whistling Hangman bringing a noose to a gallows. He shoos a bald eagle away, and prepares Nathan Hale to be hanged. They’re soon joined by a British Officer, and these three will be the narrators for the rest of the book. Given an omniscient overview of American History, Hale sees what the destiny of the country is, and even though things look grim for the colonists (and more especially for Hale personally) in September 1776, he knows that there’s a brighter future. He proceeds to tell the Hangman and British Officer all about the American Revolution, focusing on the first year, and Hale’s role in it.
Nathan Hale makes a good narrator for the years 1775-76, and his path crosses with the likes of George Washington, Henry Knox, Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold, General Howe and other notable heroes and villains of American History. The author uses these interactions to tell the key events of the revolution, including the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, the Battle of Bunker Hill (and Breed Hill), the Boston Massacre, and the Declaration of Independence. He leaves a lot of things untold, telling more of his tales in future volumes, but gives us enough information to make this book a solid read.
As a parent, a history teacher, a geek, and a promoter of graphic novels, I frigging love this series. I enjoy the humor and the menace in One Dead Spy—even as the Hangman provides comic relief, you can’t forget that the real narrator, Nathan Hale, was executed. Some of the humor is in asides, some is in telling the truths of history that are often left out of the dry history books. The illustrations are cartoony but excellent, with no confusion about who's who in the course of the story. Hale (the author) also doesn’t shy away from telling us when people suffered and died, making this more mature reading than you might expect. I loved it.