Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History

The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History

Jane Yolen
Illustrator:  Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 9
Simon and Schuster, 2002   ISBN: 978-0689851223

On December 4, 1872 the brigantine Dei Gratia was sailing six hundred miles west of Portugal when one of the seamen on board saw a sail on the horizon. When the Die Gratia got closer to the ship is became obvious that all was not well, for the ship did not seem to be under control at all. When a boarding party arrived on the ship, the Mary Celeste, they discovered that the ship was totally abandoned – there was no one on board.

What followed was a search to try to figure out what had occurred on the Mary Celeste. What had happened to the Captain and his family? There were no signs of violence, accidents, or disturbances.

The reader is presented with the facts of the story – with lots of details and information to help him or her understand what the situation was on the Mary Celeste when she was found. It is possible to come up with one's own theory of what occurred, or one can read the theories that have been bandied about over the years. Whatever the reason was for the disappearance of the people from the Mary Celeste, it is still a compelling and thought-provoking story that has been superbly presented here. Complete with word lists, background information, and much more, this book is sure to interest young sleuths of all ages.