Top positive review
A solid showing in a good series
Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2015
About me: I have become a big fan of Nathan Hale's work. I teach high school social studies classes, and I'm always looking for new ways to engage students in history. Some of my students do not read on grade level so reading a "Hazardous Tale" is doable and confidence building. In addition, I always acquire some new information while reading these books.
Brief Summary: Like every other Hazardous Tale, (the historical) Nathan Hale tells a British officer and his executioner a story before he is hung. They want a story which doesn't show that “everything America does is perfect.” In this tale, the main character is Harriet Tubman, born Araminta “Minty” Ross. We see her grow up, bounce among several owners, resolve to be free, and become the famous conductor on the Underground Railroad we all learned about in school.
What I like:
-Hale does an excellent job of exposing the dark years of slavery while not divulging too much which might overwhelm a reader relatively new to the subject.
-“The Adventures of Tiny Fredrick Douglas” introduces readers to this very important historical figure while keeping with the flow of the book.
-John Brown’s importance to the abolitionist movement is also briefly but well explained.
-Harriet Tubman’s desire to be free and give freedom to others shines through. An old injury didn’t make her an ideal guide, but her tenacity to get the job done can be felt in the pages.
-Different methods used to smuggle runaways are illustrated and scattered appropriately through the text.
-Simple but well planned illustrations make complex situations attainable for all readers.
-Inside the front and back covers, a map of North America in 1850 shows free and slave states, as well as marking routes for the Underground Railroad.
-I didn't learn as much from this book as from others by Hale. Harriet Tubman, while certainly “hazardous,” is a more familiar to most people, I’d think.
-The executioner and British soldier characters seemed to interrupt the story more than help tell the story (as done in others by Hale).
- At times the story seemed to jump without warning. A couple times I found myself checking the page numbers to make sure I didn't skip a page.
-All the back and forth in Harriet’s travels made who she was rescuing confusing at times.
Overall, nice job, Mr. Hale. Thank you for sharing your talents and passion for history with us.
tl;dr – 4.5/5 stars. For grade 4 to adults, a good overview of slavery, Harriet Tubman, and the Underground Railroad.