Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Taylor Zajonc
Illustrator: Geraldine Rodriguez
Publisher: Magic Wagon
During World War I, Samuel and his family are sea explorers who recover old ships to help the war effort. After discovering the mysterious Iron Maiden run aground on sharp rocks, the family sets out in their old tugboat to recover her. During the night aboard the damaged vessel, Samuel awakens and happens upon an old map. His curiosity leads him on an adventure that uncovers the dangerous truth about the Iron Maiden’s demise as the same forces return, threatening the safety of his family.
This early chapter book offers a taste of historical fiction for ages six to eight. Taylor Zajonc shows a different aspect of World War I that takes readers off the battlefield and into less recognized efforts for the war against the Germans. The plot is driven more by action rather than dialogue as fitting for an audience emerging from the simple story arcs of early reading books. A special feature of this book is a fun use of font size and style to highlight challenging vocabulary, which helps young readers to better understand the context of words without halting the pace of the story. Geraldine Rodriguez’s illustrations lend an animated quality consistent with the action-packed narrative and allow the playfulness of the text to take center stage. The Iron Island is a unique look back at The Great War with just enough complexity of plot and character to accommodate growing attention spans.
*Contains mild violence.