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Read Powder Monkey (2006)

Powder Monkey (2006)

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3.82 of 5 Votes: 3
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1582347484 (ISBN13: 9781582347486)
bloomsbury usa childrens

Powder Monkey (2006) - Plot & Excerpts

The book I read is called Powder Monkey by Paul Dowswell. It was published by Bloomsbury publishing in 2005. This is a story about a boy that goes out to sea aboard a navy ship back in the 1800,s. He has to stay strong as he fights in battles against enemy ships just to stay alive.This book is about a kid named Sam that wants to join the navy and become a sailor. Sam argues with his parents for a couple weeks until his parents agree to let him board a merchant ship. This is all destroyed when he ends up in deep trouble aboard a navy battle ship. “At that moment I understood that whatever terrors I had been through the previous day with the Isabelle would be nothing compared to what I would have to face on the Miranda”(Dowswell p.50). Sam is dragged into a nasty war and has to battle to keep his life.I think the plot of this story was ok the introduction was very quick and to the point and hooked me into the book very well. The rising action was slow and very boring I found it hard to enjoy this book throughout the rising actions. The book picked up very fast at the end and was definitely worth the reading as I would recommend it to friends that like to read about horrible war scenes. “Claybourne cut away the bloody clothing around Mandeville’s chest. He proceeded to insert a finger, then a metal probe, into the wound” (Dowswell p.225). Many times in the book the author went into deep detail about wounded men that were disturbing. The resolution of the book was very good but was also very surprising and did not see it coming at all.In this book the main character is round. He changes a lot in this story as he is just a boy and in trained into being a sailor and has to fight in horrific battles. He learned how to be a powder monkey and how to stand up for his country. He had to face home sickness and be smart not to get himself killed. “Instinctively I reached to touch Rosie’s letter in my shirt pocket. Keep me safe, keep me safe. I whispered to myself” (Dowswell). Sam always read his letters from his family and read them every night. Sam is expressed through survival, hate, betrayal and bravery and the story revolves around his experience in battle in the eyes of the enemy the plot would have been seen in a some what similar but a different view. I think the theme of this book is to realize what you are getting yourself into be for you do it. The author shows this throughout the book because Sam wanted to go onto a navy ship but the whole time he was their Sam was trying to plan his escape because he was home sick and didn’t want to die aboard the ship. “I longed to walk out of the ship on to the harbor, and then just keep walking, past the sentries, past the dockyard, past the confines of the town and all the way bask home”(Dowswell p.74). I disagree with the theme because I believe in not being afraid to try new things even if it turns out bad, you will never knew how something will end if you never try it.The author of the book is Paul Dowsworth. He is a British writer that writes fiction and non-fiction books mostly about history. He has written over 60 books for adult and young adults. He is also in a band and has been playing in bands all his life. He plays music from folk rock to Reggae ( This book didn’t affect me a whole lot but was a very interesting as I learned a lot about how the navy was organized and ran back in the 1800s. It made me realize how much different life was back then and how much different the battles were and they actually boarded the other boats and captured them. I would recommend this book to some people that like child warfare but it wouldn’t be the first book in my mind to recommend.

To begin, let me state I think this book is readers who are pre-teen or teenage of age. It's about a boy named Sam who is "pressed" into service on a Royal Navy frigate during the times of wars with French and Spanish navies. The author does a excellent job of creating a authentic atmosphere aboard a navy ship back in those days. He doesn't skip any of the nasty or gory parts, he let's the readers know what the real daily life of a powder monkey consisted of. A great adventure read and filled with likable characters. Based on historical facts, this novel gets the reader involved as the cannons fire and the smoke creeps down your throat. A great read!

What do You think about Powder Monkey (2006)?

(This review was originally written for my Young Adult Literature class and I'm reposting it here).The bio on Dowswell says that this book is his first work of fiction, though he has written historical YA non-fiction before, and it shows. Dowswell's background in non-fiction is evident in this book, as much of it reads like a factual book on British Naval history. As a narrator, Sam does not mince words when it comes to describing the cramped and often unsanitary conditions of his voyage on the Miranda. The battle sequences are also very graphic and violent, which makes me question Books in Print [Note: Books in Print is a library-information database] listing it as suitable for grades 4-7 (or maybe I'm just being overly cautious). The story gets more interesting later as aspects of the characters' lives outside of the Navy are explored (the family they left behind, reasons that they're in the Navy, etc.) and also during a very graphic and intense battle when many of Sam's friends are killed or captured by a Spanish fleet.This book was recommended to me by one of my freshmen students who had actually done a PowerPoint project for his English class on the British Navy because he had read this book. He also used the sources listed at the back of the book for his research project, so if someone has an interest in British Naval history, then this would be a good fiction book for them to read.

It seems that Dowswell is primarily an author of nonfiction. It shows. He's done his research, in spades, and includes a helpful bibliography for anyone who'd want to do the same. I think more than a few of his readers would be interested in reading more about the Royal Navy in the 19th century after reading Powder Monkey. The descriptions he gives of everyday life aboard ship are vivid (graphic, even, at times) and absorbing. The best of the book is in these shipboard moments, entirely lacking in romanticism, and in the fairly large cast of interesting characters he's put together.The one weakness here is the plot. Mainly, there isn't much of one for the majority of the book. It's not that I require a bloody battle to be interested in a seafaring book. It's that there's no real overarching thread connecting any of these chapters. The book moves from explanatory scene to explanatory scene without doing much to connect them into a plot, other than by using the same characters. One does show up, very near the end, but it's a little late for that.That said... If you are interested in reading about life as a pressed powder monkey in the Royal Navy, most of this book will be fascinating for you. It works very well as a snapshot of that life. As a novel, less so.

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