Book Review: Powder Monkey by Donna M. McDine

Powder Monkey
Author: Donna McDine
Illustrations by: KC Snider
ISBN: 978-1616333843
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, 2013

It is rare to find a book for children that depicts a fact or two from history yet is told in the form of a story that grabs a reader from the very first page. Powder Monkey is one of those delightful finds in literature that combines a touch of history with a fictional character and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat and turning the page.

 Tommy, the main character, is the favorite from the very first incident showing his true character when he tries to protect his mother. The reader can't help but wonder what terrible trials will follow the poor boy as he sputters from the hay mound in an attempt to defend his family.

Author Donna M. McDine does a  wonderful job with sensory details allowing the reader to experience the use of all five senses as Tommy is taken aboard a sea vessel and becomes a virtual slave to the men on board. Readers will smell the stench of body fluids and salt from the sea, feel the rocking of the ship, and experience first hand the responsibility of a Powder monkey as the young lad brings gun powder to help the seamen fight other vessels on the rocky ocean.

Tommy sees and experiences more than a young boy should yet his strong character helps him to grow into a proper seaman. The reader cannot help but to feel the pain of a lost childhood and to care deeply for the man Tommy has become making the ending to the story thought provoking and life changing, even in a small way.  Kudos to Ms McDine for doing what all authors strive to do and that is to make a difference for the reader.

Visit the author at  or her author blog:


  1. Hi Terri,

    Thank you for your splendid review of Powder Monkey. You have captured the true essence of what I want to convey. Thank you for your heartfelt review.

    Yes, I'd enjoy reviewing your book. I'll be in touch via email.


  2. Great story and a pleasure to read and review. Blessings for much success

  3. Great story and a pleasure to read and review. Blessings for much success

  4. Hi Terri,

    Hope you are well. Thank you! Wishing you all the success, too.



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