book bonanza: revenge of the whale

Jun 21, 2011

book bonanza: revenge of the whale

Revenge of the Whale

We picked this up a few weeks ago at our favorite used book store when we were searching for books for Keziah’s upcoming study of Early American History. We started it yesterday as our morning read-aloud. It’s a hit! All of the children are determined not to miss a word of the adventure.

Revenge of the Whale is the true story of the Essex, a whaling ship that sailed out of Nantucket in August of 1820. Sometime after rounding Cape Horn and proceeding up the coast of Chile, a sperm whale rammed the ship. This is a famous story that the end of Moby Dick is based on. In the introduction of the book, it says that every child in America during the 18th and 19th centuries would have been known this story. Somehow, this 20th century child didn’t know about it! We have already learned so much about the Quakers, New England, the shipping industry, whaling, geography, trade winds, sails, mates, and so much more. Revenge of the Whale is based on the cabin boy’s journals and is a departure from the tale that the first mate recorded in his journals. Whenever there is a difference in the two records, there is information in the book about it. We are having lots of interesting discussions about the differences and why they might exist. What a fabulous lesson in differing perspectives, how writers protect themselves, and what it means to record the truth.

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1 Comment

  1. LaPriel

    That sounds interesting! Thanks for sharing.