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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Powder Monkey by Donna M. McDine tells the story of 12-year-old Tommy Kitt. He is captured and forced to be a seaman by the Royal Navy Press Gang, which has also taken his older brother James and other young boys in his village. Life at sea is rough, yet Tommy determines to survive even though he may never return to his parents again.
When it comes to books for children, the illustrations are just as important as the story itself. Worthy praise goes to illustrator K.C. Snider for the beautiful and nostalgic style of illustrations. The title itself is another attention grabber. I am always interested in history, and the life of young sailor boys in the Royal Navy in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries fascinates me. Tommy Kitt and the other boys’ hard lives at sea are described with such realism and accuracy of what these boys had to endure working for the Royal Navy during this harsh era. The action scenes are vividly portrayed, and the pacing of the story is superb. My only complaint is that the story is a bit short.
Nevertheless, Donna M. McDine's ability as an excellent storyteller is undeniable. Also, it is a story that presents historical facts in an interesting and compelling way. My nephew and I would love to know what fate has in store for Tommy the ‘powder monkey’. All in all, an excellent read that appeals both to young and adult readers.