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BLACK DUCK by Janet Taylor Lisle


by Janet Taylor Lisle

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-399-23963-4
Publisher: Philomel

Two boys find a man’s body on the shore. He’s barefoot but dressed in a suit and has a bullet hole in his neck. When they bring help, the body has disappeared. It’s 1929, along the coast of Rhode Island, a site of rum-running during the Prohibition era. Bootleggers, modern-day pirates, locals cheering on the bad guys—it’s the stuff of fine storytelling. Based on the true story of the Black Duck, a fast, hard-to-catch boat that ran circles around the Coast Guard, Lisle’s tale is told through an interview conducted by young David Peterson of old Ruben Hart, rumored to have been a rumrunner. The interview scenes interrupt the pace and drama of the narrative, but readers will enjoy the unfolding story as David hears it. Like The Art of Keeping Cool (2000), also set in Lisle’s home state of Rhode Island, this is solid historical fiction. Together, they make a nice one-two punch—one about the Prohibition era, one of the home front during WWII. (author’s note) (Fiction. 10+)