Thursday, July 2, 2015

Book Review: Beggar Charlie by Madeleine McLaughlin

Beggar Charlie
By Madeleine McLaughlin
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Published: June 10, 2014

Amazon Synopsis:

Age Level: 10 – 18    Grade Level: 6 - 10
After his mother dies, Beggar Charlie finds himself alone, begging for bread. Life doesn't get any better when he is press-ganged. His only hope is the captain of the merchant ship who takes a liking to him. 

When the ship docks in China, Charlie is sent ashore with Hickory Dick, a boy he mistrusts. A rebellion foments, and in horror, Charlie watches as the merchant ship sinks when some Chinese men set it on fire. Whatever will Beggar Charlie and Hickory Dick do?

Book Links
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 My Thoughts:

Beggar Charlie chronicles the adventures of a 12-year-old orphan and his 15-year-old shipmate when they are given a day to wander in Shanghai.

They meet up with Tang, a young Chinese boy who speaks English and befriends them, inviting them to his home. Arriving at his home however, they find Tang’s father murdered, leaving Tang an orphan just like Charlie and Dick. They decide to return to their ship and bring Tang with them.  They see it overtaken by the Chinese and sunk while in port.  Charlie sees the Captain fall overboard with several Chinese with knives landing on top of him. Thinking the captain is dead, the ship sunk and the crew scattered, the boys must figure out what to do.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this novel that surprised me. These twists did not seem contrived or too coincidental, but flowed naturally as part of the story, yet were unexpected.

The characters of the three boys developed immensely throughout the book. Each one developed loyalty towards the others; they came to understand that a sense of family and friendship comes from shared experiences and caring for one another. Charlie became more self-confident, Dick more self-assured and mature and Tang a little more world-wise.

Beggar Charlie is written from the first person point of view in Charlie’s voice. His English is old English so readers will need to be aware of that. This gives a greater feel of authenticity to the book for the era of 200 years ago in which the book is set.

I liked the pacing of the story. It was a comfortable speed, and the book was not all that long, just 79 pages. Beggar Charlie was a very engaging read and showed the development of friendship and family. Usually family is made up of people we are related to, but sometimes the people we call family are the people we choose to be our family.

I would highly recommend Beggar Charlie for readers of all ages. It is a book that will make you feel good by the time you put it down. I gave it 5 stars out of 5.

Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

Although I was born in the great white north, I grew up in the south, five minutes away from the USA border, in White Rock, BC.

I had tremendous fun on the beach and in the ocean. Not so much fun climbing up the hill to school every day. I vowed that when I grew up, I would live somewhere flat. So here I am in Ottawa, Ontario.

 Other interests are window shopping, genealogy and walking, swimming and some very amateur dancing in the kitchen.

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