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Dazzle Ships
Cover of Dazzle Ships
Dazzle Ships
World War I and the Art of Confusion
A visually stunning look at innovative and eye-popping measures used to protect ships during World War I. During World War I, British and American ships were painted with bold colors and crazy...
A visually stunning look at innovative and eye-popping measures used to protect ships during World War I. During World War I, British and American ships were painted with bold colors and crazy...
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Description-

  • A visually stunning look at innovative and eye-popping measures used to protect ships during World War I.
    During World War I, British and American ships were painted with bold colors and crazy patterns from bow to stern. Why would anyone put such eye-catching designs on ships?
    Desperate to protect ships from German torpedo attacks, British lieutenant-commander Norman Wilkinson proposed what became known as dazzle. These stunning patterns and colors were meant to confuse the enemy about a ship's speed and direction. By the end of the war, more than four thousand ships had been painted with these mesmerizing designs.
    Author Chris Barton and illustrator Victo Ngai vividly bring to life this little-known story of how the unlikely and the improbable became just plain dazzling.

About the Author-

  • Chris Barton is the author of acclaimed nonfiction picture books including Dazzle Ships, Whoosh!, What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?, and The Day-Glo Brothers, which was awarded a Sibert Honor. Chris lives in Austin, Texas, with his family. Visit his website at www.chrisbarton.info.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 26, 2017
    Dazzling in their own right, newcomer Ngai’s illustrations strikingly depict the dazzle ships of WWI, more than 4,000 British and U.S. merchant and warships that were painted with wild colors and patterns. These “dazzle” designs, explains Barton (88 Instruments), “were supposed to confuse German submarine crews about the ships’ direction and speed” and keep them safer from torpedo fire. Ngai runs with the camouflage theme in energetic scenes that are crisscrossed with geometric and organic patterns and lines: in one spread, the uniform jacket of British naval officer Norman Wilkinson, who proposed the dazzle painting idea, is masked by the curvilinear patterns and hues of the ocean waves in the background. “Sometimes desperate times call for dazzling measures,” writes Barton in conclusion, underscoring the importance of creative problem solving. Reflective author and artist notes, a timeline with b&w photographs, and a reading list wrap up a conversational, compelling, and visually arresting story that coincides with the 100th anniversary of its subject. Ages 7–11. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Gail Gaynin, Morgan Gaynin.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from August 1, 2017

    Gr 2-5-During World War I, the British were in danger of starving because so many German U-boats were sinking American and British supply ships. Eventually, Norman Wilkinson, a Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve lieutenant-commander, had the idea to paint boats in such a manner as to confuse the German submarine captains, and the concept of "dazzle ships" was born. Barton chronicles the creation and implementation of the strategy, including the team of women artists who designed the patterns and the laborers who painted the ships. Readers learn that the wild, striped designs fooled the U-boat captains into thinking the Allies' ships were headed in opposite directions, thus leading to confusion and failed offenses for the Germans. The well-written, intriguing text is complemented by Ngai's vibrant and surreal illustrations that skillfully recreate the glittering water and the striking camouflaged vessels. Students will appreciate the information, while taking in the amazing artwork. More material is provided by author's and illustrator's notes at the end. In addition to the back matter, photographs of Wilkinson and one of the dazzle ships are also included. VERDICT With the commemoration of the centenary of World War I, this book is a fascinating selection that will captivate readers, especially war story enthusiasts.-Margaret Nunes, Gwinnett County Public Library, GA

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    June 15, 2017
    During World War I, British and American ships were painted in ways meant to deceive German U-boat crews. Submarine attacks were becoming a problem, and the British and Americans needed a plan to save their ships. Norman Wilkinson of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve came up with a new idea: camouflage. Obviously, they couldn't make the ships invisible, but maybe they could paint them in a way that would confuse submarine officers and make it difficult to determine which way a ship was heading and how fast--important since torpedoes were fired not at the ship but at the spot where the ship would soon be. In 1917, ships were "dazzle-painted," or painted in "crazy" designs meant to confuse. Ngai uses analog and digital media to great effect, from the dazzling cover (which will attract many readers all by itself) to the range of designs employed, applying an appropriate period aesthetic throughout. Readers, however, may not quite see the genius, since, in most illustrations, it's pretty clear which direction the ships are heading, and the perspective from German periscopes is lacking. And, by war's end, the Royal Navy couldn't prove that dazzle had spared any ships, which may sink enthusiasm for the story. Still, it's a fascinating volume about a little-known side of the war. An eye-catching title sure to dazzle. (author's note, illustrator's note, timeline, further reading) (Informational picture book. 8-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    "During World War I, the British were in danger of starving because so many German U-boats were sinking American and British supply ships. Eventually, Norman Wilkinson, a Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve lieutenant-commander, had the idea to paint boats in such a manner as to confuse the German submarine captains, and the concept of 'dazzle ships' was born. Barton chronicles the creation and implementation of the strategy, including the team of women artists who designed the patterns and the laborers who painted the ships. Readers learn that the wild, striped designs fooled the U-boat captains into thinking the Allies' ships were headed in opposite directions, thus leading to confusion and failed offenses for the Germans. The well-written, intriguing text is complemented by Ngai's vibrant and surreal illustrations that skillfully recreate the glittering water and the striking camouflaged vessels. Students will appreciate the information, while taking in the amazing artwork. More material is provided by author's and illustrator's notes at the end. In addition to the back matter, photographs of Wilkinson and one of the dazzle ships are also included. VERDICT With the commemoration of the centenary of World War I, this book is a fascinating selection that will captivate readers, especially war story enthusiasts."—School Library Journal

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