Title: North to Oak IslandNorth to Oak Island
Author: Dudley Bromley
Illustrator: David Grove
Pages: 59
Reading Level: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★

Argh! Ahoy there from the Falcon II. Or the Revenge, whichever Captain Kate chooses to call it…

The Story.

Will was an apprentice for seven years. During those years, he learned the trade of printing books – and the skills of reading and writing, too. Now he longs to travel from England to the New World in America. During those seven long years he saved every cent possible, and he finally has enough money to buy a ticket to America. Life couldn’t be grander.

But that was before he was robbed of every red cent he possessed – and his extra clothes. His only chance to sail to America now is to smuggle aboard a vessel. So he does – and manages to land on the ship of Captain Kate, fiercest piratess alive!

Will Captain Kate look kindly upon Will, or will she have him thrown to the sharks?

Discussion.

At fifty-nine pages, North to Oak Island is hardly another Treasure Island. Its main purpose is to create interest in the treasure which may truly have been buried at Oak Island. Along the way, it offers a bit of piratical adventure at the hands of Captain Kate.

I could spend a paragraph here philosophizing on why Captain Kate should or should not have been the captain on a ship when the crew was entirely male. I could. But one hardly likes to use Biblical principles  to set to right the continuing governance of a pirate ship.

Will himself is a mediocre character. He neither shuns the pirates nor adopts them. His only interest is to reach America; he has no wish to influence the pirates away from piracy, or to become a superior pirate himself. The only example we see of a moral decision on his part comes in the second chapter just after his money has been stolen from him.

“Now Will thought he would never get to the New World. He didn’t know what he would do without any money. For a while, he thought about robbing someone himself. But he decided against it. If he should get caught, he would never get to the New World.” [pg. 7]

If your only reason for not committing a crime is because you don’t want to chance being caught, I’d say you’re fit company for a pack of pirates.

Captain Kate is a hard woman. In one scene, after her new ships-cook has betrayed her position to her enemies, Kate orders him to be bound and tossed into the ocean. She herself pushes him off of the plank. In another scene, she orders that Will be given ten lashes with the cat-o-nine-tails. His punishment is mercifully ended when a battle breaks out between their ship and another.

In yet another scene, a man falls overboard. Before he can be rescued, both his legs and one arm are bitten off by sharks. The man, who is in excruciating pain, begs to be shot and Kate obliges him.

Conclusion. Not bad – but not really worth the read. I much preferred The Pirate Captain’s Logbook and The Giant Rat of Sumatra if you’re looking for piratical resources.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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