by Nathan Hale
Amulet Books, 2012. 127 pgs. Graphic Fiction/Nonfiction
There is some question as to whether Nathan Hale's new series, Hazardous Tales, should be shelved with the fiction or non-fiction, but there is no question that One Dead Spy is a terrific history book with laugh-aloud funny characters and dialogue. This book, and it's companion volume, Big Bad Ironclad are the best books I have ever seen for luring reluctant readers into learning a lot about history. In these pages, Nathan Hale (the Revolutionary War hero) is about to be hanged as a spy, but after he is swallowed up by a magical Big Book of American History, he tells the hangman and the British provost what happened to bring him to this point, and what will happen to the colonies in the future. Henry Knox and the guns of Ticonderoga appear here, as does General Washington's brilliant bluff on the Dorchester Heights above Boston harbor, and a brief meeting with Benedict Arnold (was he superbad? was he supergood?--a tale for another day). A brilliant book, so much fun your young readers will scarcely know they are being educated.