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The True Adventures of Daniel Hall

The True Adventures of Daniel Hall

by Diane Stanley

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Stanley bases this riveting tale on Daniel Hall's own account of the four-year journey that took him from his hometown of New Bedford, Mass., to the wilds of Siberia. In 1856, just days before his 15th birthday, Daniel fulfilled a lifelong dream and set sail on a whaling ship. In concise, evocative prose, Stanley explains that the trip quickly became nightmarish: no whales are spotted for 10 months and-far worse-the cruel and violent captain displays a particular dislike for Daniel. When the tyrant refuses to release the boy from service, Daniel begins to plot his escape, and seizes his chance one cold night in Siberia. There, injured from the captain's beatings, he survives an eight-month-long winter, complete with attacks by bears and wolves. Finally, in a heartwarming passage that has all the drama of fiction, Daniel spots a whaling ship as it lowers a boat to fetch him. Stanley illuminates the lives of 19th-century whalers while vividly portraying her protagonist. Although it is not as thoroughly stunning as her work in Cleopatra and Bard of Avon, her meticulous art-here rendered in pastels on sanded paper-is steeped in period detail and abounds with energy. Ages 6-9. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Using an 1861 autobiographical work by Hall called Arctic Rovings, Stanley has provided modern readers with a brief look at an exciting, true adventure. Rejecting a clerking career, Daniel, 14, signed on a New Bedford, MA, whaling ship for a perilous three-year voyage. Though accepting of hard work and uncomfortable conditions, the teen innocently incurred his captain's ill will. Suffering mental and physical abuse, he and a young companion deserted on the bleak Siberian shore, where they endured a brutal winter and were aided by inmates of a prison colony. They were rescued in the spring and Daniel was eventually reunited with his widower father. An afterword completes what is known about Hall's later life. Dramatic pastel illustrations complement the composed text, giving young readers visual images of towering masts, snarling wolf packs, and harpooned whales spouting blood. The large format may prove a tad off-putting to some older readers who would truly be amazed at Daniel's adventures, but should please youngsters looking for a nifty piece of nonfiction to whet their imaginations.-Patricia Manning, Eastchester Public Library, NY

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
10.01(w) x 10.81(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

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