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Duel of the Ironclads: The Monitor vs. the Virginia
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Duel of the Ironclads: The Monitor vs. the Virginia

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Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Author: Patrick O'Brien

List Price: Softcover: $8.95

Ages: 9-11 Years

Reviewed By: Beverly Krueger

Duel of the Ironclads typifies the kind of picture book that my sons brought home from the library in armloads when they were younger. It has all their favorite things, paintings of glorious battle scenes, cut-away drawings of weaponry, just enough text to tell you the story, and lots of explosions.

If you have a little boy who has moved on from cars and trucks to weapons, they’ll love this book. It dumps them straight into the destruction of the iron warship the Monitor from a fierce Atlantic storm with huge waves washing over the deck and sailors desperately leaping into lifeboats. Attention grabbed, the book pulls back to tell young readers through text and glowing illustrations, the story of how ironclad ships became the latest innovation in naval war craft and a brief introduction to the Civil War. Readers can pour over the cutaway illustrations of the Confederate’s ship the Virginia, the first ironclad, and the Monitor, the Union’s first ironclad.

The actual duel between the ironclads doesn’t occur in the book until the last pages, before that we witness the Virginia wrecking havoc on the non-ironclad ships of the Union. The Monitor arrives to save the day and fights the Virginia to a draw. The battle illustrations will thrill young readers. We learn that both the Virginia and Monitor last only a little more than a year. The Monitor goes down in a storm off the coast of Cape Hatteras and the Virginia is destroyed by fire to keep it from falling into enemy hands when the Union attacks Norfolk. Boys will love this book for all its thrills. Parents will love it for the dose of history it includes with those thrills.
More Information
Available From: Walker & Company
Address: 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
Other Notes:

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Beverly Krueger
Beverly Krueger is Editor in Chief of the Eclectic Homeschool Online and a homeschool conference speaker. Her publishing company, EEG Publishing, also publishes a number of helpful websites including,,,,,,, and The Krueger family also participate in the ministry of Mission of Joy, a Christian mission to the people of India.
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