Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pirate Island Adventure

Pirate Island Adventure, by Peggy Parish
(Yearling, 1975), pb., 167 pp.
Ages 6-10

This is the third in the “Liza, Bill, & Jed Mysteries” series. I commented on the first in this series, Key to the Treasure, previously. Having enjoyed the first one so much we wanted to read another and since we did not have (or have lost!) the second book we moved on to the third.

This story is very similar to Key to the Treasure with the same strengths: fun, simple story, mystery, adventure and good family interaction. Adults will notice that the author has basically used the template from a previous, successful book to write another one much like it. For adult-level writing that could be a critique, but in this case I have no qualms at all. It is what I often do in making up stories for my children. And, when this results in a fun story which is enjoyed by all, then it is a success.

I will also take this opportunity to comment further on something which is true in both books. The positive interaction of children and grandparents is very nice. In a day where there too often seems to be less interaction between children and older adults, the portrait of this book is encouraging.

Furthermore, the children have to take initiative, work, and think creatively. They have their squabbles with one another but, in the end, resolve them well. These are fun books well worth reading.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Sir Christian de Galis and the Fish Gravy

(Westbow Press, 2014), pb., 242 pp.
Ages 10-15

This is a comical take on the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The author obviously knows the Arthurian legends well as he uses aspects of the traditional stories and plays off of them en route to make a moral or spiritual point. However, the humor and its nuance was often beyond the reach of my 7 and 9 year old to whom I was reading. The story reads like slapstick and in that genre there is a fine line between being hilarious and just too odd to follow. It didn’t work for us, but in another setting with a slightly older audience it might work very well.