A boys own wartime adventure

brave the restless seasTITLE = BRAVE THE RESTLESS SEAS

AUTHOR = DAVID McROBBIE

GENRE = SEAFARING, WAR, WW2M GROWING UP

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 9

Adam Chisholm has grown up near Liverpool, the busiest seaport in 1940’s Britain, so it is no wonder that ships have always been his passion. With his country at war, it is also no wonder that 15 year old Adam chooses to sign up for the Merchant Navy, to do his part for the war effort, especially given that his beloved mother has recently died.

Over the next few months Adam sails on an Atlantic convoy, faces seasickness and shipwreck, helps to salvage a ship and takes part in the destruction of a submarine. As the ship’s “Peggy” he learns how to keep a mess tidy and how to ferry meals across a slippery deck to satisfy the hunger of his fellow sailors. He will also discover a whole new vocabulary of shipping terms, which he must learn, if he is to obey the orders he is given on board.

A story about mateship on the High Seas, boys are sure to find this book entertaining and quite an eye opener about ships, seafaring and life in Britain under the duress of war. Images at the start of each chapter (including maps and posters of the era) and a glossary of ship terms at the end add to the sense of truth behind Adam’s story.

Selected as a 2014 Notable book (Younger Readers) by the CBCA Judges.

Recommended (dma) ****

Action aplenty in a new series

TITLE = BROTHERBAND: The Outcasts

AUTHOR = JOHN FLANAGAN

GENRE = ACTION, ADVENTURE, FANTASY

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7,8

John Flanagan has begun a new series of fantasy-adventures but he has returned to a setting that his readers will be familiar with: Skandia (a location for some of the adventures from the hugely popular “The Rangers Apprentice” series).

Here we meet Hal and a group of “outcast” boys who join forces to become the “Heron” brotherband. Each of the boys has a different reason for feeling an outcast: for Hal it is partly because his mother was an Araluen slave whilst his Skandian father died when he was a babe. For Stig it is the shame of having a father who has absconded. Now they are all 16 years old, it is time to prove their worth as Skandians: as they undergo the tortuous training to become a brotherband and hopefully win the contest. But can this ragged group of outcasts really defeat teams which are greater in number and size? In this land where sailing and strength are the making of a man, where will these boys fit in? And most importantly what has the decrepit alcoholic, Thorn, got to teach them?

This novel is a worthy short-listed book for 2012 CBCA Book of the Year: Younger Readers.

View the book trailer below for more insight  into the novel:

Music (“Nubuck ” by Mettle music) sourced, along with images, from the Animoto site. Text by dma.

And if you liked this seafaring adventure you might also like Andrew McGahan’s “Ship Kings: The Coming of the Whirlpool”, reviewed here, another CBCA shortlisted novel.

Or why not have a look at the official Brotherband website?

Recommended (dma) ****

An exciting adventure … where horror lurks ….

TITLE = SHIP KINGS 1: The Coming of the Whirlpool

AUTHOR = ANDREW McGAHAN

GENRE = ADVENTURE, ACTION, FANTASY, HORROR

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 AND UP

 

An entertaining first volume in what looks set to be an exciting series. Despite the adventure, there is a touch of darkness and dread in this book: Dow may long for the sea but there are dark forces at work which may end his dreams. And those forces may be deadly. To what extent can Dow make a future for himself and to what extent is destiny and family heritage going to shape his life??

Shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year 2012 (Older Readers)

 

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

Why not check out this book trailer, too:

 


(Note: all images in this book trailer courtesy of the Animoto collection, music also provided from Animoto – Artist: His Boy Elroy Song: Kill Me Quickly(Or Not at All). Text created by dma)

And if you like this book you might also enjoy another seafaring adventure: “Brotherband: The Outcasts” by John Flanagan, reviewed here.

Danger at sea

scoutTITLE = SCOUT

AUTHOR = NICOLE PLUSS

GENRE = HISTORICAL FICTION

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8, 9

It is the 1800s and young Katherine (otherwise known as Kit) sets off with her mother on the long and dangerous voyage by sea to Australia. Kit’s father (a sea captain) died at sea when she was a mere baby and her mother is planning to marry a lighthouse keeper who she only knows from a handful of letters. His offer of marriage to Kit’s mother looks like the only solution for their secure future, even if it means leaving their home, family and friends and setting off for a new and very different country.

On board their ship, “Scout”, Kit begins to grow up and learn more about the ways of the world. She sees the class divide amongst the ship’s passengers, feels the constraints of living under her mother’s tight rules and is clearly bound by the restrictions all women and young girls faced in those times. She also feels the first touches of romance as she watchs the sailor, Angel … is she really falling in love?

Whilst Kit struggles to understand her mother and the new friends they make on board, life suddenly becomes more perilous when shipwreck looms … will they survive the storms and seas … will they even make it to shore and their new home??

Based on diaries and letters from the brave folk who travelled the Southern Seas to Australia in the 1880’s this is an engaging and thoroughly entertaining story. Kit is a very credible character and her struggles to live up to her mother’s exacting standards are very moving – there is also a real sense of danger and suspense in the second half of the novel that will keep reader’s on the edge of their seats. The book is also beautifuuly designed: from the cover to the maps to the little compasses that mark breaks in the story. A great read especially for those who enjoy historical fiction and adventure stories.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****