After a tentative start this novel for middle school children develops an original idea into a rollicking double plot story involving pirates, smuggling of endangered species and a pig.
Malachi is 11 years old and he and his father miss his mother who has died. Malachi’s mother always encouraged him to be adventurous and inquisitive and she gave him a magnifying glass and says look for me after I have gone.
Malachi finds a ship in a bottle which has a life of it’s own which parallels the adventure that is to happen in his own life. He becomes aware of a dodgy deal that is going to take place in Waipoua Forest where protestors are trying to stop a road going through which threatens many species.
Read the rest and find out the adventure that malachi gets into and how a piglet helps and hinders his progress. All the strings to the plot are tied up nicely at the end but will Malachi find evidence of his mother in the action?
Short chapters and a large font plus a rapidly changing plot make this novel an excellent read-a-loud for primary students.
If you pick your nose and eat it, don’t get caught. Mabel Jones gets spotted by Idyryss Ebenezer Split the crusty captain of the pirate ship The Feroshus Maggot and is bagged by Omynus Hussh and taken to the weird world of the Seven Seas.
The other pirates are not happy about having a girl on board but when the Captain discovers she can read he sets her a task of finding all the pieces of a broken X which he tells her is the keyhole to getting her back home. But what else is it for?
Mabel says fine and sets about tracking down some weird characters and creatures who have to be relieved of their bit of X. This is not an easy task and requires daring and ingenuity from the feisty Mabel in the strange world.
There is a map in the front and the plot is told with a variety of fonts and the excellent illustrations of Ross Collins.
Good easy reading from a new author for reluctant readers and lots of cleverness with the tale of Moby Dick and other classics.
For primary and intermediate readers.
After I had read James Norcliffe’s two novels about the Loblolly Boy I wondered how the Loblolly Boy had come into existence, who was the mysterious Captain Bass and what was the significance of the astrolabe.
If you are of the same mind read this latest novel and find out. Even if you are not this novel is quite fascinating and once you start it will draw you in and keep you hanging on till the story is told.
It is set in the Caribbean on the Spanish Main at a time when everybody was a pirate of some description whether you worked for the British, the Spanish or the French. Treasure was what mattered but in this case the astrolabe is the prize.
The War of Jenkins Ear between Spanish and British has occurred and the Spanish have beaten the British from their stronghold in the port fortress of Cartagena. I have been to Cartagena and you still have to watch your back. It was also the setting for the crocodile scene in the film Romancing the Stone.
Just about every character is a villain and the only innocents are the Loblolly Boy and the daughter of a female pirate captain, Sophie. Sophie can see the Loblolly Boy and only sensitives can. A ruthless sorceror from the netherworld called Mr Wicker has turned a young boy into the Loblolly Boy for his own ends. The Loblolly Boy is invisible to most mortals, is unaffected by weather, never eats and can fly.
The aim of Wicker is to reclaim the astrolabe from Cartagena because the astrolabe has the power to turn night into day and day into night while this occurs great mischief can be done.
The real star of this book is the storytelling power of James Norcliffe and the language that he uses. Norcliffe is not only a teller of great stories he is a wordsmith. His imagery, dialogue and description is outstanding.
Read it yourself. The ending is a big surprise.
For good primary and intermediate readers and secondary readers will go for it too.
It is 1615 and twenty five years prior to this, the Irish seaside village of Ballykilmara was raided by Barbary pirates from North Africa who carried off men and women to be slaves. The Villagers never forgot.
During a storm the warning bell is rung announcing either a ship wreck or pirates and the menfolk run armed to the beach. It is both. As the pirates come ashore the locals slaughter them where they stand. God has avenged.
One pirate, Iskander, survives and is nursed back to health by 15 year old Liam and his family and the villagers remembering the slaughter show clemency. But the priest and the English land owners are not so lenient.
A similar pirate raid some months later carries off Liam’s brother and many other villagers to be sold as slaves in the markets of Algiers.
Liam and the Monks of the local monastary mount a rescue mission to buy the hostages from the pirates with gold and set sail for North Africa in a leather boat. What results is a portrait of the cruel and brutal slave trade and two religions that have been going hammer and tongs for centuries and continue to do so until the present day.
Brilliantly told and described by Sherryl Jordan who has researched this topic thoroughly. Action packed and at times gruesome, as Jordan relates the plight of the slaves, but also uplifting as we read of the selfless courage of the monks who gave all for their fellow men. From hopelessness and despair comes miracles. Read it for yourself.
Wide appeal from Intermediate to young adult. The writing will blow you away.
They say never mess with the Classics but I am glad that former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion has done so.
In the lofty style that characterises so many of the Classics, Motion has returned us to Treasure Island 50 years after the original adventure and written through the eyes of Jim Hawkin’s son, also named Jim Hawkins.
After being tracked down by Natty, daughter of Long John Silver, young Jim Hawkins, borrows the old map from the chest once owned by Billy Bones, now owned by his father.
At the behest of very old and blind, Long John Silver, who finances the operation, Jim lad and Natty disguised as a boy, set sail on the Nightingale for Treasure Island to retrieve the silver left behind.
They arrive at Treasure Island to find that a slave ship has been wrecked and that the pirates left behind in the original story have formed a tyrannical community based at the old Stockade.
Pieces of eight, shiver me timbers, fifteen men on a dead mans chest yo ho ho and a bottle of rum. Ah Jim Lad. Good stuff.
Beautifully written and told as you would expect of such a quality writer as Andrew Motion who has also structured the novel in the same way as the original.
This novel has wide appeal from Intermediate through to young adult. If you love the classics then you will adore the style of this novel all the way to the stunning ending.
The Time Pirate by Ted Bell. Pub. St Martin’s Griffin, New York, 2010.
Boy’s Own fantasy/adventure at it’s old fashioned best. A combination of Biggles and and Pirates of the Carribbean and a delight to read. In fact thrilling to read.
This is the second part of the Nick McIver Time Adventure Series the first being Nick of Time. Both books are based around the discovery of two time machines invented by Leonardo do Vinci called Tempus Machina.
One time machine is in the hands of our hero Nick McIver, the other is in the hands of a bloodthirsty megalomaniac pirate called Capt William Blood. In the last book Capt Blood had his right hand cut off in a fight with Lord Hawke one of Nick’s compatriots, and Blood is seeking revenge.
The story opens in 1940 as the Nazis are about to attack the Channel Islands of which Nick’s home island of Greybeard Island is part. The invasion takes place and Nick is sprung into action in his fathers World War 0ne aircraft a Sopwith Camel.
At the same time Capt William Blood is plotting revenge on Nick and his friends Gunner, Lord Hawke and Commander Hobbes. He plans to lure Nick into a trap so he can obtain the second Tempus Machina, and then set about ruling the world. Wonderful stuff.
Capt Blood has assembled a mighty fleet of pirate ships with which to defeat the British and French in the year 1781. This forms the second part of this book and Nick gets involved in the American War of Independence. The Battle of Yorktown is well described.
A fast moving adventure story that will lure the reader in and hook them for the length of the book. I was and so will you. This book and Nick of Time are absolutely fantastic, you will be rivetted to the book till the end.
Aimed at Intermediate students but good younger readers will also enjoy this series.