Double Eagle – Sneed B. Collard III

imagesReading level: 8.5

Genre: Mystery, historical fiction

ELL-Friendly: No

Library recommendation: Middle school or early high school

Let’s just take a moment and chuckle at the author’s name.

I randomly bought this book for $0.25  on a whim, and to my surprise it was a pretty awesome work of historical fiction. Score!

I learned a lot through Double Eagle:

  • coin-collecting terms and other awesomeness
  • perspectives of southerners about the Civil War War Between the States
  • other cool facts about the Civil War regarding forts and minting

The book begins with Mike, 14 years old, drooling over a pretty college girl. I was afraid that it would soon turn into something inappropriate, but it really didn’t. The two “inappropriate” parts were Mike’s friend Kyle saying “he-ell” frequently as well as Kyle’s cigarette habit. Smoking and swearing weren’t glorified, so I’m not too worried.  Also, two characters have an affair but the “worst” of it is just them kissing.

The reading level is pretty high due to academic words for coins, place names, and other jargon related to sailing, minting, fishing, and the like. Amazon.com says the book is good for readers ages 10 and up, but I could see youngsters getting lost in some of the language. I think that the content is great for middle to lower high school, but it’s a bit juvenile for older readers. I could see Civil War junkies (and/or coin collectors) being quite interested. I also wonder if my Civil War interest made me breeze through this book, which wasn’t that eventful until the end with the hurricane. It might be pretty boring for some students.

The book might appeal, at least in a small way, to students whose parents are divorced and who are shuttled around from parent to parent.

The book isn’t for ELLs for reasons listed above. Also, Kyle and other characters speak with a southern accent, which would make the dialogue difficult to comprehend.

Lemme just say that I love old Mr. Dubois. He’s a minor character, but I fell in love with him, his secrets, knowledge, and willingness to help out two teenage treasure hunters.

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