Thursday, September 11, 2014

Powder Monkey by Donna McDine (Book Tour)

Forced into a life at sea by the Royal Navy Press Gangs, 12-year-old Tommy Kitt finds himself in a floating sea of misery. Poor living conditions and beatings occur daily. 

Despite his small size, Tommy must summon the courage and physical ability to prevail in a situation he cannot escape.

Suggested age range for readers: 8-12. Free Educator Guides Available.

Written By: Donna McDine
Illustrated by: K.C. Snider
Publication Date: May 20, 2013
Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction/Children’s Fiction (Ages 8-12)
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My second book by Donna McDine and another enjoyable one.  It appears that she has connected with her targeted age range here (8-12 year olds) with another look at the past.  The illustrations are wonderful and really bring this book to life.    Though the book does not mention where it is taking place or the time period it was still interesting.  Dark at times, it might frighten younger readers.

I had never heard of the Royal Navy Press Ganges before or the term Powder Monkey, so this reader got a history lesson.  Tommy is only 12 years when taken by force from his family, he is scared, smart but also determined that he will survive.  I read this book is one sitting and would have liked the ending to have gone on a little longer.  It ended rather abruptly and it would have been nice to see what happened to Tommy.  I guess that is a sign that the author created a bond with her readers.

In a classroom setting or with parent/child reading it could open a door to questions and bringing history to life.

Praise for Powder Monkey

“Danger. Hardship. Cannon blasts. And whips. Stolen violently into service as a boy who delivers powder to the cannons during a battle, young Tommy never sees his parents again. What adventures await him? Donna M. McDine’s book, Powder Monkey, moves quickly through tense action scenes to portray realistic life during this dangerous era on the high seas.” ~ Nancy I. Sanders, bestselling and award-winning children’s author of Challenge on the Hill of Fire and Frederick Douglass for Kids ~

“The saga of an age gone by, Donna McDine’s Powder Monkey, ably captures the essence of what some young boys endured as impressed sailors. With pathos and honesty, this historically accurate account of Tommy Kitt’s struggle to stay alive at sea, is a testimony to the author’s prowess as a storyteller.” ~ Nancy Stewart, Award-winning and Amazon best-selling children’s author ~

“Powder Monkey by Donna McDine, illustrated by K.C. Snider, is a heart wrenching historical fiction. The story chronicles the lives of two brothers during British naval history. The brothers are taken and forced to run powder to the cannons during battles at sea. K.C. Snider’s artwork transports the reader back to a world where innocent boys endured many hardships. Parents and teachers can certainly use the book to teach many valuable lessons about life and how it should not be taken for granted. ~Reviewed by Nicole Weaver, Award-winning Children’s Author ~

“The richly detailed illustrations, by well known artist and illustrator K.C Snider, drew me back into a time when the theme of this historical novel would have been played out – press gangs kidnapping young boys for service at sea. This tale of 14 year old farm boy Tommy, and his older brother, is well told. It has the right feel. The author’s research shines through on every page. Action scenes, and well crafted tense moments pulled me into the story, and the ending was true to life in those times. This is a book that boys and tomboys will enjoy. Teachers and home schooling parents will appreciate its authentic background and vivid details: an exciting and action packed read. I recommend Powder Monkey as a book that will definitely HOOK Kids on Reading.” ~ Reviewed by Margot Finke, children’s author ~

Buy the Book

Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
Amazon (Print)
Autographed Copies
Wholesale Orders

Donna McDine is a multiple award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, A Sandy Grave ~ Story Monster Approved and Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, The Golden Pathway ~ Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books.

Her interest in ocean life resulted in writing and publishing A Sandy Grave (January 2014). Other books by McDine, Powder Monkey (May 2013), Hockey Agony (January 2013) and The Golden Pathway (August 2010). A fifth book is in the publishing pipeline with Guardian Angel Publishing. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.

For more information please visit Donna McDine’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Powder Monkey Blog Tour

Monday, August 25
Spotlight at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, August 27
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Monday, September 1
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, September 2
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, September 4
Review at A Leisure Moment
Monday, September 8
Review at Bookish
Tuesday, September 9
Interview at Closed the Cover
Wednesday, September 10
Review at Historical Tapestry
Thursday, September 11
Review at Impressions in Ink
Friday, September 12
Review at Just One More Chapter
Friday, September 19
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages


  1. Hello Margaret,

    Thank you for participating in my HF VBT's! I appreciate your support. Thank you for your wonderful thought provoking review of my historical fiction children's book, Powder Monkey.


  2. Margaret,

    May I be so bold to ask you to post your review at Amazon a? If yes, the link...

    Thank you for posting at Goodreads, much appreciated!