Three for Thursday: Adventures at Sea!
Posted by Stephanie Whelan
My Thursday three are a little late, but here are my sea adventure stories for readers who hear the call of the ocean!
Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey (Putnam Juvenile, 2012)
Come along for the ride of your life with thirteen year old Egg! Our protagonists life has gone from bad (awful siblings and a pirate infested island) to worse (marked for death, escaping aboard a pirate ship, chasing ancient legends). Can he survive long enough to unravel the mysteries surrounding his predicament?
This is the first book in Rodkey’s The Chronicles of Egg, that takes the idea of piracy, outrageous characters, and a twist on history to create a marvelously vivid debut. Poor Egg really does have it rough, and readers are going to feel for the lad. Despite his hapless falling into adventures, Egg might find himself cut out for such a role–with a little help from his new friends! A thoroughly engaging story that’s really unlike anything else I’ve come across. Be prepared for Dahl-esque nastiness from some of the characters–it adds to the fun. The final book of this trilogy, Blue Sea Burning is slated to be published in April this year.
It’s a great story for those who enjoy adventure, alternate history and pirates. My main complaints are that the book wraps up with very few of the threads of the story actually concluded–it may be worth having the second book to hand for when the first is finished. (Mild criticism of the cover, despite the fact that it’s a nicely intriguing cover, it doesn’t make much sense within the actual description of the book–it’s not an actual scene that happens in the story.)
Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson (HarperCollins, 2013)
Young Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of going to sea. She yearns to become a pirate and hunt for treasure. But the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to take on a pirate of the female persuasion no matter how skilled and ambitious she is. Determined to chase down her dream, Hilary runs away from her boarding school and sets off to sea with her talking Gargoyle on a less than reputable ship to tackle a crazy plot to uncover a magical hoard (that may or may not actually exist). Humor abounds in this madcap adventure and the actual villains may not be the obvious ones!
A great light hearted adventure for middle grade readers who love plucky heroines, humorous plots and magic in the mix. Set in an alternate universe where magical items are in scarce supply (with villains stealing all the magic left) this story engages a very romantic idea of piracy. My biggest critique is that the story really was a bit too padded and the plotting tended to drag–especially towards the beginning. If readers can overcome the hurdle of the first several chapters until Hilary gets on board her ship, they’ll be well rewarded by the adventure that follows. While this title can work fairly well as a stand alone adventure, it is the first book in The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series with the second book due out in September 2014.
Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre (Random House, Expected Publication July 2014)
Oliver has spent his entire young life traveling with his adventurous explorer parents to every corner of the globe. Now for the first time ever they’re going to settle down in a real house by the seashore. Oliver is thrilled at the idea. But when mysterious, unexplored islands appear in the ocean right by their house, his parents are off exploring again. Only this time Oliver doesn’t go with them. And the mysterious islands vanish, taking his parents with them. What’s a boy to do? Find them and rescue them of course! Oliver sets out on a fantastic journey across the sea with a nearsighted mermaid, and sarcastic albatross and a rambling isle to get them back. But to save his parents he’ll have to face down Stacey d’Lacey and his sea monkeys!
Silliness abounds in this world of outlandish adventures. Veteran author Philip Reeve delivers a delightfully irreverent adventure that’s sure to appeal to intermediary readers. Sarah McIntyre’s illustrations are a perfect match to Reeve’s text, making this a rip-roaring great story for reluctant readers who might need something a little wild and wacky to whet their appetites. We’ll meet the Rambling islands–living islands that move around across the ocean, sarcastic seaweed, cranky talking birds, wild wigs and all sorts of other far-fetched denizens of the ocean. Great fun! This appears to be the first in a series of books called “Not-so-impossible-Tales”. Can’t wait to see what’s in store with the next offering.
About Stephanie WhelanI'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.
Posted on March 7, 2014, in General Posts, Three for Thursdays and tagged Authors, Books, Children's Books, Children's Literature, fantasy, MG Books, Middle-Grade Fiction, Reading, reviews, series. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.