Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Pirate Apprentices and Young Adults
Hannah Pritchard: Pirate of the Revolution
By Bonnie Pryor
Enslow Publishers, 2008, 978-0-7660-2851-7, £6.99, US $27.93
With Britain and America at war, living on the outskirts of civilization is risky. Hannah Pritchard’s father, however, ignores neighbors’ suggestions to move the family to a safer location. Then British soldiers and Iroquois warriors attack the homestead. Only Hannah survives because she was out picking berries and sought shelter in a cave. Mr. Van der Beck finds her and arranges for Hannah to go to Boston to live with her grandmother, but once there, Hannah learns her grandmother, a devout Tory, left with the British.
Although Mr. Van der Beck gives her the name of his sister, who owns a tavern in Portsmouth, should Hannah need someone, she has no money to purchase a ticket for the stagecoach. She decides to sell her mother’s silver candlesticks to their maker, Paul Revere. At first she’s accused of being a thief, but the silversmith soon sorts everything out and arranges for her transportation.
Lottie and Madeline welcome Hannah with open arms. The work is hard, but she soon finds herself making new friends. In her off hours, Hannah likes to wander the wharves and watch the arriving and departing seamen and ships. Unable to resist the call of the sea and wanting revenge for the murder of her family, Hannah dons her brother’s clothes – which provided her a means of safer passage from her farm to Boston – and signs aboard as the cabin boy and cook’s helper of the Sea Hawk, a privateer commanded by Captain Jones.
As Jack Pritchard, Hannah keeps her true identity a secret as she learns the ropes. She befriends another new seaman named Daniel, but she has an enemy aboard. Larson holds a grudge against her because she got the job his nephew should have. Making life miserable for Hannah is his way of getting even, but it also gets her into trouble. If that’s not enough of a problem, they are at sea for one purpose – capturing enemy ships – and sooner or later she must come face to face with the enemy. Will she get the revenge she seeks, or will she get captured and face charges of piracy?
This fourteen chapter book is written for children, particularly girls, in grades three through six and is part of Enslow’s Historical Fiction Adventure series. Since it is based on real historical events, each book ends with “The Real History behind the Story,” a recommended reading list of other pirate stories – fictional and true – and websites to visit for additional information on the American Revolution and privateers.
View Pages from Hannah Pritchard or Get the Free Educator’s Guide
Review copyrighted © 2008 Cindy Vallar
Captain Hannah Pritchard: The Hunt for Pirate Gold
By Bonnie Pryor
Enslow Publishers, 2011, ISBN 978-0-7660-3817-2, US $27.93, CAN $27.57, £17.06
After escaping from a British prison ship and evading a sea monster, Hannah Pritchard, Captain Dobbs, the cook, and Daniel arrive in their home port of Portsmouth in 1780 aboard a captured schooner. Also docked in the New Hampshire port is the privateer painted to resemble a sea monster.
The former prisoners rest and recuperate among friends while Dobbs oversees the hiring of new crewmen and arranging for cargo so they can put out to sea again. Unable to find merchants willing to risk sending their wares by sea during the war, Dobbs goes to Philadelphia to obtain a commission from the navy. During his absence, Daniel spends time with the men from the sea monster privateer. Tales of their exploits amaze him, but Hannah isn’t convinced. Something doesn’t quite add up, and she’s relieved when Dobbs refuses to partner with the other privateer captain upon his return from Philadelphia.
Once the schooner sets sail again, Dobbs reveals their secret mission. Only then can they retrieve the chest of gold they buried on an island in the Outer Banks before the British captured them. But the sea monster’s captain has heard whispers of that gold and has no intention of giving up such a prize. If he and his crew succeed in stealing the gold, Hannah fears the worst. Will she and her mates outfox their new enemy, evade the British, succeed in their mission, and retrieve the gold?
This is the final book in the Hannah Pritchard series for young readers, but it’s filled with exciting adventures and danger lurks around every corner. Pryor centers part of her tale on the French assistance that helped the Americans win the Revolution. She ably demonstrates that not all privateers were as interested in defeating the enemy as they were in amassing wealth and that there was a fine line between privateering and piracy. Although Hannah’s elevation to captain is a poignant ending to the series, it also demonstrates the value of friendship, loyalty, and honor. The book concludes with a discussion of the real history behind the story and a list of resources readers can consult for additional information.
Review Copyrighted ©2011 Cindy Vallar
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