Thursday, April 06, 2017

Reading the Newbery Winners: The Dark Frigate

I'm still not quite sure what to make of the third Newbery Medal winner, The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes. It's not written quite like a modern day children's book, so it was a little harder for me to get into it at first. But the story of Philip Marsham and his struggles to find a place in the world of seventeenth century England will look pretty familiar to many readers. The early chapters reminded me of something Charles Dickens might write, with his becoming orphaned and cast from situation to situation before finally landing a place on a ship, the Rose of Devon. Then things turn into something more like Robert Louis Stevenson, as the ship is taken by pirates, and Phil must hold on to his values and ideals in a situation that makes that extremely difficult. He comes out all right in the end, of course, but he has many adventures before it's all over. There are many hints of even more adventures, but sadly Hawes died shortly before the novel was published, so he never got the chance to see his prize, nor write more about Marsham.