Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Great Ships

The Great Ships

Patrick O'Brien
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 9
Walker Books for Young Readers, 2005   ISBN: 978-0802777164

Unlike cars and trains and planes, most ships are given a name. A ship is not an "it" but a "she" and sailors will swear that every ship has her own personality, her own special ways. In this collection of ship tales we are going to meet twenty of the world?s most famous ships beginning with the Viking Gokstad ship, and ending with the U.S.S Enterprise, an enormous nuclear aircraft carrier.

The ships described in this collection served a variety of purposes. The Mayflower carried settlers to a land where they hoped they would be able to build themselves a new life. Cheng Ho's famous treasure ship was a ship on a propaganda mission - the Chinese emperor wanted to show the world how powerful he was. Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hind was not only a vessel of exploration, but it also was a pirate ship into which Drake packed a large store of stolen Spanish treasure to take back to his English Queen. The Victory and Constitution were ships of war, sent into battle to defeat their homeland?s enemies.

Beautiful paintings and diagrams perfectly compliment the text of this fascinating book. The author has an obvious appreciation for, and love of, ships and sea and he gives the reader a real taste of maritime history.