The Donner Party expedition is one of the most notorious stories in all of American history. It’s also a fascinating snapshot of the westward expansion of the United States, and the families and individuals who sacrificed so much to build new lives in a largely unknown landscape. From the preparation for the journey to each disastrous leg of the trip, this book shows the specific bad decisions that led to the party’s predicament in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The graphic novel focuses on the struggles of the Reed family to tell the true story of the catastrophic journey.
This popular topic is a perfect addition to the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales brand, and a great showcase for Hale’s storytelling skills.
Praise for Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party
"This informative graphic novel capitalizes on enticingly gross history to great effect, balancing raw facts with strong storytelling."
YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens List 2014
New York Public Library’s list: Children’s Books list: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2013
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2014
About the Author
Nathan Hale is the author of Big Bad Ironclad and One Dead Spy, as well as the illustrator of the graphic novel Rapunzel’s Revenge, which was an Al Roker Book Club for Kids selection, an ALA notable book, a YALSA Great Graphic Novel for Teens, and the recipient of three starred reviews. He lives in Provo, Utah.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have to say this is my absolute favourite of the NHHT series so far! I have to say I was quite curious how he was going to keep the humour going with such a topic as the Donner Party. But just read the title and you can tell he takes an irreverent stance to keep this book funny, and probably the funniest of the lot. The author does become irreverent but, as a Catholic, I never thought he went over the line. It's a difficult subject to discuss without being judgemental and Hale has managed it. In fact, he's gone the other direction and suggests that cannibalism was/is a normal human response under such dire circumstances. But only one of his main characters feels this way, the other two have the normal human response of disgust. I think he's done the Donner Party justice and treated them respectfully. He doesn't focus on the cannibalism (hardly even using the word) but on the whole journey, the pig-headedness of Reed in using the shortcut and the final survival and rescue. In fact, we come away from the book just realizing how many actually safely made it home and the acts of bravery that some members unthinkingly committed. Of course, the story is full of violence and murder too. Just make sure you know this story well before handing it to a young or sensitive child and while I thoroughly enjoyed the humour I would caution that some may find this topic unsettling or offensive in this comedic setting. I love this series! On to book 4!