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Black Duck
Black Duck
Author: Janet Taylor Lisle
When Ruben and Jed find the dead body on the Rhode Island shore, they are certain it has something to do with smuggling liquor. It is the l920’s, Prohibition is in full swing, and almost everyone in the shore community is involved. Suddenly, the boys find themselves involved as well: Didn’t the dead man have something on him, and didn&...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780399239632
ISBN-10: 0399239634
Publication Date: 5/18/2006
Pages: 240
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.

4.4 stars, based on 5 ratings
Publisher: Philomel
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

FancyCamper avatar reviewed Black Duck on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
While this is a fiction book, it has historical basis, and the author has done a wonderful job blending fact and fiction. The book is written for teens; however, even my husband, who rarely reads fiction, thoroughly enjoyed this book. Besides being a good read, the boys' choices make you stop and think about all the shades of gray of the choices we make. We have a 20-minute period of reading every day at school (some set aside for read-alouds too), and my students beg me nearly every day to continue reading from this book. There is enough action and suspense in the story to keep even reluctant readers interested. Even though Black Duck is a teen book, this book is at the top of my list as one of my favorites.
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GeniusJen avatar reviewed Black Duck on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

David's dream is to become a reporter. His father wants him to help run the family landscaping business.

David's dream leads him to a man, Ruban, with possible connections to the Black Duck, the famous rum-running boat during the prohibition in Rhode Island.

David tells Ruban that he's a senior in high school and might get published in the local newspaper. In reality, David is just starting his freshman year. Ruban reluctantly tells David some facts about the town during the time period, starting with the day that he and his best friend, Jeddy, found a dead body on the beach. When they went to alert the authorities, the body disappeared and the boys were warned not to talk about it.

Over the course of several visits, Ruban tells more of the story to David. Ruban's initial curiosity led him down a different path than Jeddy, as he wanted to know more about the body, more about the rum-runners, and even wanted to lend a hand. Soon he and Jeddy were at odds over the rum business. What started as an innocent curiosity led Ruban into danger that neither boy could have imagined.

The BLACK DUCK blends worlds with the interruptions between David's questions and Ruban's story. While Jeddy and Ruban had an amazing story, Ruban feels that the whole story isn't his to tell and that Jeddy owns a piece of it. However, with Jeddy dying, Ruban clears his mind of guilt and finishes the tale.

The BLACK DUCK is a unique historical fiction novel that will engage readers.


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