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FREEDOM SHIP by Doreen Rappaport

FREEDOM SHIP

By Doreen Rappaport (Author) , Curtis James (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-7868-0645-1
Publisher: Hyperion

On May 13, 1862, Robert Smalls and his crew of enslaved men took over the Confederate ship Planter and delivered it to the Union side, complete with cannons and ammunition. Smalls went on to participate in several naval battles during the Civil War and later served five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Since this is the story of the Planter on that one day, little historical context is provided until the author’s note, and readers will come away wishing there were more to it. The choice of first-person narration in the voice of a little boy, and the consequent inelegant and staccato prose, adds to the meagerness of the volume as a whole. The author’s note fills in some history, and a short but good bibliography and a list of web sites offer further sources for young readers. Overall, the volume is attractively designed, the illustrations stately but stiff. Readers will be better served by some of the works from the bibliography. (Picture book. 5-9)