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The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History
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The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History (Unsolved Mysteries from History)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  163 ratings  ·  27 reviews
The Mary Celeste was discovered adrift on the open sea by another ship in 1872 -- with no sign of captain or crew. What happened? Did the crew mutiny? Were they attacked by pirates? Caught in a storm? No one ever found out.
Inside this book are the clues that were left behind and the theories of what people think happened aboard that ship. Become a detective, study the cl
Paperback, 32 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published 1999)
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The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History by Jane Yolen, illustrated Heidi E.Y. Stemple, is a look at the disappearance of the crew of the Mary Celeste in 1872 in the Atlantic Ocean. A young girl realtes the facts and theories about the case, and challenges readers to solve the mystery.

The text clearly presents the facts and theories surrounding the disappearance of the crew and passengers. The format includes definitions of nautical terms, a map, timeline and notes by the girl narrator
Rachel Driscoll
In 1872, a 100 foot schooner named "The Mary Celeste" left New York harbor only to be found adrift exactly one month later off the coast of Portugal. The captain had aboard his wife and two year old daughter, and was known for being a good seaman and fair leader. The ship showed no signs of violence and there was plenty of food stored. The story of the abandoned ship remains a mystery to this day.
This picture book is delightfully illustrated and each page in addition to telling the story, also h
A historical fiction mystery follows a young girl who is being a detective and looking into the mysteries of a lost ship; The Mary Celeste. This book is unique in that it reveals clues about the mystery, and also includes the girl's thoughts about the mystery and what she thinks happened to the ship. At the end of the story, it is never revealed what happened to the ship so it is up to the reader to become a detective on their own and solve a mystery using inferences and ask questions while read ...more
Sep 12, 2013 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: older children and parents reading with them
This is the second book we've read in the Unsolved Mysteries from History series by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple.

The two books have the same concept: a young girl tries to discover the truth behind one of the unsolved mysteries in history, and uses research, critical thinking, and deductive reasoning to come up with her answer. The interesting part is that she never gives her own opinion about the solution to the mystery, but invites the reader to draw her own conclusion, based on the evid
Part of literature unit:

The Mary Celeste is an unsolved mystery from history retold in this fantastic story. Yolen tells the story of how Captain Morgan and his crew came upon the ship, Mary Celeste. Floating abandoned at sea, members of Captain Morgan’s crew board their find and become quite puzzled to whereabouts of the ten people who had been on board. Yolen shares important information with the reader in the form of notes, which include definitions for unfamiliar words and information about
Nichole Sedler
Dec 12, 2007 Nichole Sedler added it
Recommends it for: Grades 3-5

Written by Jane Yolen and Heidi Elisabeth Yolen Stemple, illustrated by Roger Roth, published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, copyright year 1999.

Summary: A ship is found floating at sea in 1872 with no crew and no clear signs as to how they disappeared. The story is written from the perspective of a young girl and is filled with her research notes.

Response: Beautifully illustrated. A very intriguing story about a true historical mystery. I like the bits of factual information t
LOVED it! The mystery of the Mary Celeste and her missing crew is presented in notes, maps, timelines, and wordlists encouraging readers to think critically about the facts and come to their own conclusion as the mystery remains unsolved.

The most popular theories are presented after the facts are laid out and beneath each theory is a set of questions that prompt readers to recall the specific information that may prove or discount each theory.

Pencil drawings colored with watercolors.

This is on
This is a great book that teaches children to question. It is a story about a boat whose passengers disappeared and the possible theories that were possible.
Full review at:

This is the final book in the Unsolved Mystery from History series and I think it may be my favorite yet. Like The Wolf Girls, I had not heard about the Mary Celeste before this book, but this mystery was just so enthralling! A crew that just disappears?!?! How?!?! After reading the book, I spent hours online reading about the Mary Celeste and it is so interesting. There are so many websites and opinions and theories—all which would be so m
Not much of a mystery, in real life.
On December 4th, 1872 a ship, the Mary Celeste, was found abandoned and adrift on the open sea. What happened to the small family and crew of the Mary Celeste? Pirates? Mutiny? Extreme weather? No one knows; it’s one of the great unsolved mysteries from history that Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple are bringing to the attention of a new generation of detectives. An intriguing read that will surely lead to fascinating discussions and varied opinions. Loved it!
Jennifer Tarr
Clever idea--to take an unsolved mystery of a ship from the 1870s whose crew disappeared. It takes the reader through the fact that are known, and possible theories....but leaves it up to the reader to decide what he or she thinks. No one knows the truth. It includes cleverly placed nautical terms and definitions as part of the illustrations. It also includes a "Notebook" with additonal anecdotes as part of the illustration.
JoEllen Mccarthy
This book is a great resource for educators. The narrator acts as a "reading detective". Her goal is to determine the truth behind unsolved mysteries from history! Illustrations are a special treat because they demonstrate active reading from this "detective"- post it notes, notebooks for word study and more. Jane Yolen also has Wolf Girls as well as Roanoke The Lost Colony but I wish there were more in this series.
Megan Franks
This is an interesting mystery about a ship that was found in the Atlantic in the late 1800s. The ship was perfectly in order--no signs of struggling or fleeing--but the lifeboat and a few sailing devices were missing. The crew was never found.

I liked this book because it explains key words, gives a timeline of events, explores several theories and encourages kids to consider the facts and develop a theory of their own.
I am inexplicably fascinated by ships, shipwrecks, and ghostships, so I am familiar with the story of the Mary Celeste. It's a great tale and a great mystery. This book did not do that story justice. It was boring, disjointed, and the illustrations left much to be desired. Unfortunate, since I really do like the idea of mysteries from history being made accessible to children via children's literature.
Jayetta Carter-mcfarlin
I would use this book to teach a lesson that expands across several content areas. From 3rd grade to 12th grade, I could see this book on my classroom bookshelf to explore reading as a writer, scientific methods, historical facts, artistic connections, letter-writing skills. This book can certainly help teach students how to find word meaning through contextual clues.
mara pina
I've never heard this story so I have to admit that I totally got caught up in the mystery of the Mary Celeste. I did find the side notes distracting but that was because they were so interesting. If I were a kid, I know I would be totally trying to memorize them (what's "port" and "starboard", etc.) and live my own at-sea mystery. Well done.
Carol Littlejohn
For ages 9-18. This well-illustrated picture book presents the true story of the "Mary Celeste," a ship whose crew disappeared mysteriously in 1872. The author offers six different reasons for the disappearances. Teachers could use this book as a platform to try to solve the mystery.
Interesting and quick read about the mysterious disappearance of the crew of the ship: Mary Celeste. Offers definitions for seafaring, blurbs about the background of the ship and crew, as well as the crew who found the Mary Celeste floating, empty and in tact off the coast of Portugal.
Jay Urquhart-pettifer
this is a childrens book i think if i'd read it when i was between 10-13 i would have loved it and tried to solve the mystery but at the age of 31 im too grown up :( i need lots more info and less speculation x
Shiralea Woodhouse
This book tells about the mystery of a ship that was found abandoned - but no one knows what happened to the crew. A great thinking book as you are given the facts and introduced to several theories.
Cool book about a real ship that shows up completely empty of crew and totally in order. Interesting. Still don't know what I think happened. Fun to play detective.
I bet that the other crew that found the "abandoned" ship actually raided it, threw all the other people overboard, then brought it in to get famous.
Excellent presentation of the mystery and the facts for young readers.
Very good little picture book!
A history mystery!
Like it!
Jun 16, 2010 Lynda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lynda by:
One of the great unsolved mysteries. It has always fascinated me.
Sarah Coe
Read-aloud - comprehension - question the text
Sofia marked it as to-read
Feb 17, 2015
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Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachuset ...more
More about Jane Yolen...

Other Books in the Series

Unsolved Mysteries from History (4 books)
  • Roanoke, the Lost Colony: An Unsolved Mystery from History
  • The Salem Witch Trials: An Unsolved Mystery from History
  • The Wolf Girls: An Unsolved Mystery from History
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