The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History

The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History

by Jane Yolen, Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Roger Roth

View All Available Formats & Editions

The Mary Celeste was discovered adrift on the open sea by another ship in 1872 — with no sign of captain or crew. What happened? Did the crew mutiny? Were they attacked by pirates? Caught in a storm? No one ever found out.

Inside this book are the clues that were left behind and the theories of what people think happened aboard that ship. Become a

…  See more details below


The Mary Celeste was discovered adrift on the open sea by another ship in 1872 — with no sign of captain or crew. What happened? Did the crew mutiny? Were they attacked by pirates? Caught in a storm? No one ever found out.

Inside this book are the clues that were left behind and the theories of what people think happened aboard that ship. Become a detective, study the clues, and see if you can help solve this chilling mystery from history.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
PW said that this tale of a crewless ship, the Mary Celeste, found adrift in 1872, "may well have amateur sleuths lying awake at night." Ages 6-up. (July) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This first book in a new series of unsolved mysteries may well have amateur sleuths lying awake at night. When the crewless ship Mary Celeste was found adrift in 1872, there were no signs of pirates, mutiny, cholera or weather damage, and its cargo of raw alcohol was intact; only the lifeboat and navigational instruments were missing. A girl narrator introduces the story of the ship's discovery by the crew of the Dei Gratia. Her notes on a spiral steno pad, plus nautical definitions on multicolored Post-It notes, are tipped into the book's main action as the 19th-century seamen rummage through the ship and attempt to reconstruct what happened. The book ends with a review of such possible explanations as "The Drunken Crew Theory" and "The Sea Monster Theory," and questions help detectives evaluate whether each theory fits the clues. Mother-daughter team Yolen and Stemple (who previously collaborated for Meet the Monsters) spin a suspenseful account and add further significance and factual detail through the clever informal format. Roth's (Fishing for Methuselah) watercolor-and-pencil artwork combines realistic nautical touches with the human camaraderie of life at sea. Young Sherlocks will be eager to set sail on this team's next course. Ages 6-up. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Maria Pereira
Part of the "Unsolved Mystery from History" series, this book tells the story of a ship "The Mary Celeste" that was found adrift on the Atlantic Ocean six hundred miles from the coast of Portugal on December 4, 1872. The ship was empty and the Captain, passengers and crew were never found. The story is introduced by a little girl who has aspirations to be a private detective like her dad. One of the authors is a former private detective and so, to treat this old story as a puzzle that needs to be pieced together makes sense. The story is told in a simple factual way with little boxes of explanation of the nautical terms on each page. There is also a pseudo notebook on each page analyzing the facts and searching for clues. It certainly makes the story more intriguing and also shows how to read and digest facts and think in a logical fashion. Towards the end of the book, there's an excellent map showing where the ship was found and the sequence of events in chronological order. The last section of the book presents six theories that have been propounded about the unfortunate "Mary Celeste" and poses questions about the probability of each. The story ends with the little girl suggesting that the reader come up with his or her own theories. This is a big and beautiful book with wonderful illustrations.
Children's Literature
In this compelling look at an unsolved mystery, readers are allowed to review all of the evidence concerning the disappearance of the crew of a ship in 1872. The Mary Celeste was found adrift in the open sea with no one aboard, a full cargo hold, and enough supplies for a sixth month voyage. The crew left behind rain gear and personal belongings. The book asks, where did they go? Giving readers definitions of sailing terms, background information on the ship's captain, and a detailed account of what the crew who found the ship observed, the book asks the reader to entertain the theories that explain the disappearance and come up with their own theory. It's a great mystery and a nice piece of historical investigation. 1999, Simon & Schuster, $16.00. Ages 6 up. Reviewer: Alexandria LaFaye
Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Fans of detective stories will be thrilled to try their hands at solving this true historic mystery. In 1872, the Mary Celeste sailed out of New York and into the realm of bizarre puzzles. When found by the crew of the Dei Gratia less than a month after setting sail, the brig was in seaworthy condition and almost completely in order, but everyone on it had vanished. The tale is told by a fictional character who shares her methods of investigation and the known facts of the case. Warm, double-page watercolors with details highlighted in pencil show each aspect of the discovery and exploration of the derelict ship, and enhance the drama of the story. Maritime terms and supplemental information on the individuals involved appear on panels drawn to resemble sticky notes and lined notebook papers that are superimposed on the illustrations. The book includes a listing of a half dozen of the most popular theories, accompanied by questions that can be answered from the text, thus encouraging readers to exercise keen observation and deductive reasoning to form their own opinions. While the answers to the mystery of the Mary Celeste may never be known, this is an intriguing story.-Ann G. Brouse, Big Flats Branch Library, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Read More

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Unsolved Mystery from History Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.25(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.10(d)
AD630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Jane Yolen is an award-winning author who has written more than 200 books for children, including the bestseller How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? and the 1988 Caldecott Medal winner Owl Moon. She is known for her beautiful poetry and has even been called “the Hans Christian Anderson of America” (Newsweek). Jane Yolen lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. Visit her at

Heidi Elizabet Yolen Stemple is Jane Yolen's daughter and sometime writing partner. Together they wrote the Unsolved Mysteries from History series. Heidi lives in Hatfield, MA.

Roger Roth, Sr., has partnered with Dr. Hanby in his ministry and writing for many years. Together they oversee Mark Hanby Ministries/Fathers Heart Ministries, an internationally recognized teaching and resource center.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >