Title: Great Sea StoriesGreat Sea Stories
Author: Donald J. Sobol
Pages: 103
Recommended Ages: 10-13
Star Rating: ★★★★

From the author of the Encyclopedia Brown Series comes a collection of twenty-one exploration and disaster stories set on the great oceans of the world. From the first successful submarine, to the real Robinson Crusoe and the ship which navigated itself through the Northwest Passage, Great Sea Stories is filled with exciting tales that you won’t forget in a hurry! There are stories about…

– The “jinxed” ocean liner, the Great Western, which – when fully loaded – outweighed the 179 English ships that fought against the Spanish Armada in 1588!

– The shark that swallowed the papers of a smuggling ship which, when both the ship and the shark were caught, helped to identify the smugglers!

– The Huntley, the first submarine to sink a warship. (She also sunk in the explosion, drowning her crew.)

– Also, did you know that Queen Elizabeth I of England made hanging the penalty for opening a message-carrying bottle? She appointed an official Court Bottle Opener to read the messages. (Some of the bottles contained state secrets, which she didn’t want just anybody off the street reading.)

Although most of the stories concern themselves with shipwrecks, sea battles, and other “typical” maritime stories, some of the stories are about ships that were supposedly cursed or haunted.

In one of the stories (A Cargo of Death), it is mentioned that frozen bodies were found on an abandoned ship. In another (The Jinxed Ocean Liner), it is said that the skeletons of a man and boy were discovered in the ship’s frame. And lastly, in “Some Call it Murder”, two ships officer throw the weakest survivors off of a lifeboat so that the stronger people will have a chance to live. (The officers are placed on trial for their actions.)

Conclusion. Mostly good stories with a few less desirable ones thrown in.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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