One of the greatest things about taking this Children's Literature class is the variety of award winning books that I have been introduced to this semester. Since I don't have a long daily commute, I had never listened to a book on tape. So for my Odyssey Award Winner, I choose Bloody Jack Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy.
Mary Faber was born in eighteenth-century London to a nice family until the plague took her family, and she was forced into the streets to beg and fight for her survival. When Charlie, the leader of her street gang was murdered, Mary discovered how much easier life was as a boy. She secured a position as a ship's boy on the HMS Dolphin because she could read. At that moment "Jacky" Faber was born, and her new adventures began. Once on the high sea, Jacky learns about the life of a sailor. She makes friends with the ship's boys and a few older sailors, and enemies with a few of the ship's bullies. Life is good until they have their first run in with pirates. There Jacky earns her nickname "Bloody Jack" by shooting a pirate before he has the chance to kill another cabin boy and escape with the treasure chest of gold. The HMS Dolphin continues on its way to the Caribbean to hunt for the infamous pirate LeFievre. After a fierce battle Jacky once again saves the day by locating an island to land the sinking ship, and another island to supply lumber to rebuild the ship. Unfortunately, the pirates also find the island and there is a fierce battle that almost ends Jacky's life and reveals her secret. Jacky, now know as a girl, is sent back to the ship under escort, however her bravery has made her a Midshipman and secured a pirate's booty for the ship. Everyone is now a rich man or woman!
Bloody Jack is listed as a historical fiction, but I think it is more of a "historical fantasy". I found very little information about the author, and nothing on how he did his research for the story. I did learn that the audio book narrator work with a dialect coach to make her part authentic. I would love to believe that a young English girl could "outsmart" everyone, and better her place in society. However I know that in the eighteenth century girls and women had no rights and very few ways to support themselves. So I will just take this story as a girl empowerment fantasy. I would love to share this audio book with my second graders, they would love the action and pirates, except there are a few parts that are a little "to grown" for them. I look forward to traveling this summer to hear about the rest of Jacky's adventures. She's a very busy girl with twelve books!