The 290 by Scott O'Dell

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Jim Lynne is idly playing darts in Liverpool when his brother, Ted, calls him over to a table to ask a question about the ship that he is working on. It seems the ship, enigmatically named the 290, is not the cargo ship that people are saying it is. Whatever its purpose, it is certainly built for speed. But Jim thinks he knows that purpose: it is being built for the Confederate navy.

And so launches the story of the intertwined fates of a ship and a boy. The ship would go down in history as one of the most famous vessels of the Civil War. Originally the 290, she would come to be known as the Alabama. Jim, whose father is a slave trader, will have to reconcile his own hatred for slavery with his love for the ship he made and the captain who sails her. Destiny will give him a chance to do just that...

"Once again [Scott O'Dell] is able to refract universal themes of liberty and self-awareness through history's prism."
-School Library Journal

"The author displays his distinctive gifts for distilling significance from historical matter and for dealing with the sea. ... With lively conversation and with increasing tension, from confrontations at sea and aboard Jim's ship, the author crisply tells the story, skillfully integrating historical elements. ... Immediately captures the reader's interest." -Horn Book

About Scott O'Dell

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Scott O’Dell (1898–1989), one of the most respected authors of historical fiction, received the Newbery Medal, three Newbery Honor Medals, and the Hans Christian Andersen Author Medal, the highest international recognition for a body of work by an author of books for young readers. Some of his many books include The Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Road to Damietta, Sing Down the Moon, and The Black Pearl.
Published September 1, 2008 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. 131 pages
Genres: History, War, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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As trim a tale as you'd expect from Scott O'Dell, but one more than a little narrow in the beam—just like the Confederate raider Alabama, on which the hero sees action and defeat in the Battle of Cherbourg.

Oct 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The 290

Gr 4–6—Jim Lynne has fallen in love with the unique, speedy ship that he has been helping to build. The 290, built secretly for the Con-federate Navy, is a raiding ship intended to help turn the tide of the Civil War. When Jim has the opportunity to join the 290's crew, he can't pass up the oppor...

Apr 01 2013 | Read Full Review of The 290

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