One of the most widely-read and respected books in all American literature, Moby Dick is the saga of Captain Ahab and his unrelenting pursuit of Moby Dick, the great white whale who maimed him during their last encounter. A novel blending high-seas romantic adventure, symbolic allegory, and the conflicting ideals of heroic determination and undying hatred, Moby Dick is also revered for its historical accounts of the whaling industry of the 1800's.
This abridged version of Herman Melville's sea classic gives highlights from the much longer original, which is told by Ishmael and set aboard The Pequod, a whaling ship in the 1800s. Although Ishmael and the crew believe they are on a typical whaling voyage, the ship's captain, Ahab, is leading the ship on a voyage of revengesearching for and hoping to kill a white sperm whale that caused him to lose one of his legs on a previous expedition. Ultimately Ahab's tunnel vision, his lust for blood, and desire for revenge lead him to make poor decisions that cause the death and destruction of ship and crewwith Ishmael as the lone survivor. This Candlewick Illustrated Classic beautifully pairs Benson's illustrations with the key parts of the original story. In her introduction to this volume, Needle concedes that some of the original text is "long and rambling, even obscure, while other parts are wonderfully exciting." Here the exciting parts are interspersed with summary and commentary about the sections of the original that were left out. This format works nicely and makes this story much more approachable to teen readers. The illustrations, mostly black-and-white, are haunting and atmospheric in helping create the whaling world of the 1800s. This handsome volume is well put together, but it will only appeal to a very small group of teen readers. Reviewer: Jeff Mann