Thursday, February 11, 2010

44. Capt. Hook

Hart, J.V. Capt. Hook. ISBN: 0-06-000220-4-9. Harper Collins Publishers. First Edition, 2002.

Plot Summary

Growing up the Bastard son of Lord B. James Mathew has led the kind of life that only money can buy. He wears fine clothes, has had world class training in fencing, and now he is about to embark on the exclusive Eton Academy. It doesn't take long for James to make a name for himself. During his short stay at Eton, James quickly befriends a boy named Jolly Roger and also becomes the target for upperclassman Arthur Darling. These upperclassmen can beat new students as they see fit and James soon finds himself at the receiving end of the whip. Upon being beaten, it is discovered that James is different, he doesn't scream and his blood bleeds yellow. From that moment onward he is known as the mutant and becomes a hero for the students who feared Darling's wrath. Soon James befriends poisonous spiders, falls head over heals for a beautiful Sultana, and finds himself on a journey at sea that will change his life forever.

Critical Evaluation
Capt. Hook delves into the life of one of literature's most notorious villains and outcasts. This look at a teenage Hook and his outcast persona is something that teenagers today can relate to. As a coming of age story, Capt. Hook is steeped in action and adventure, creating a brisk pace in accompaniment to wonderful pencil illustrations by artist Brett Helquist. These illustrations are presented at each of the chapter heads and at crucial points in the story, giving insight into the world of Victorian England. The novel is suitable for younger readers, but the difficult vocabulary make the title more suitable for older teens. This novel shows that even an outcast can rise to fame and glory, and this message will definitely have appeal to the teens readers who seek it out.

Reader's Annotation
The young adult life of literature's most notorious pirate might not be so villainous after all. Before Captain Hook, there was James Mathew, an orphan child trying to make a name for himself as an outcast at the Eton Academy.

Author Information
J.V. Hart is a critically acclaimed screenwriter, who has worked on films such as: Hook, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Contact, and Muppet Treasure Island. Capt. Hook is Hart's first novel and a portion of the proceeds from the novel's sales will go to the Peter Pan Children's Fund.


Curriculum Ties
Victorian Life, slave trade

Book Talking Ideas
What events in James' life do you think led him to become a villain?
Describe James life, then ask, does this sound like the kind of person who would become one of the world's most notorious villains?

Reading Level/Interest Age
Grades 7+

Challenge Issues
violence, slavery

Challenge defense ideas:

1. Make sure you are familiar with your library collection and the book in question.
2. Be familiar with your library collection policy.
3. If possible, speak with the person challenging the material and make sure they feel comfortable. Ask the customer what they disliked or disapproved of in the resource. If they still insist on challenging the material give them instructions on how to file a formal complaint.
4. Research professional reviews that speak to the material's merit, and get input from teen readers on why they found the book important.

Reason For Selection

The world of Peter Pan has always interested me. The depiction of a teenage Hook, before his villainous ways, was something I found intriguing and worth reading about. For teens interested in the anti-hero, there is none greater than Captain Jas Hook.

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