History that is not everyone's taste

Summary:

In the 1800s, moving from the east to the "wild" west was a challenge. In May 1846, an expedition of 87 people, led by George Donner and James Reed, was heading for California. In this story, members of the Reed family serve as narrators and describe how these pioneers struggled with a lack of food, poor weather, and Native American attacks. Not only does the story provide extra facts about the trek across the United States, but there is an index that tells the story of what happened to each person who traveled with the Donner family. Many deaths occurred, and in addition to details about how these people died, a crucial part to the storyline is what happened to those that were dead. 


BTSYA / Teen Reader (13):
Overall, this book is somewhat depressing and gloomy. I liked how there was a specific index about each pioneer’s death. Hale’s drawings are very distinctive and helpful, but without the index, I would have been extremely confused because of the number of characters.

My least favorite part of this book is how crowded the pages are. I prefer Big Bad Ironclad over this book, as it was more action filled. Both are very factual and interesting, and I recommend them to middle school students. For someone interested in learning more about American history in a fun way, this could be a nice gift.

Parent Perspective:
This is definitely a book for kids who like - or aren't turned away from - unsettling topics. The author does a good job in conveying the reasons for cannibalism, but it doesn't make the idea any less comfortable to process. Like our teen, I found the pages too crammed. Some drawings had too much in them already, then you had sidebars and text bubbles.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers who like books with a gross-out factor and/or history will be spellbound by this graphic novel version of a notorious event in US history.

Content Awareness Factors:

This graphic novel offers lots of facts about the Donner-Reed Expedition, including cannibalism and violent skirmishes/attacks. Although graphic novels can be excellent reading tools, there is a lot of content on each page. Last, there are a lot of characters which may be frustrating for some readers.


Type of Book:
This is a humor-added graphic novel that tells the story of a notorious event in US history.
Educational Themes:

Nathan Hale tells the story with some humor, but there is a ton of factual content that will spark a reader's interest in the Donner-Reed Expedition specifically and the settling of the US west generally. 

Talking about cannibalism at the dinner table may not be appropriate, but like several other themes in the book, the story creates opportunities to ask: what would you do in this situation?

Reading Level:
2.7
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
10 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 13
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. Readers will need to see for themselves whether/not the format works for them

Title Donner Dinner Party
About

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales, Book 3

Author Nathan Hale
Publisher Abrams Books for Young Readers, Imprint Abrams Books © 2013
Illustrators Nathan Hale
ISBN 9781419708565
Material Hard Cover
Cost $13.99
Genres Humor, History - US, History, Comics | Graphic Novels, History - 1800s
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