High Seas and Adventures
Barnacle Is Bored
By Jonathan Fenske
Best for: Ages 3-5
Barnacle Is Bored seems like an obvious title since all a barnacle does is sit in one place. But this simple idea delivers a clever story with a message that won’t be lost on anyone. Barnacle is bored with his life. It’s the same thing every day. He sits and he watches. He gets hot. He gets cold. He gets wet. Barnacle wishes he could be like the fish he sees swimming in the waters around him. Then a big fish swims by. The fish’s actions change Barnacle’s mind. He goes from a glass-half-empty guy to a glass-half-full guy very quickly.
What’s good: The illustrations and text are simple, direct and funny—great for young readers.
What’s bad: It’s so simple that reading the book in the store may be enough.
The Pirate Jamboree
By Mark Teague
Best for: Ages 7-12
You really can’t go wrong with a title from Mark Teague. If you are a fan of the Dear Mrs. Larue series, you’ll see a familiar theme used in this new tale. Teague uses his lively and entertaining illustrations to delve into the fantasy. In Pirate Jamboree we begin by seeing the players, neighborhood kids on bikes and in normal clothes, gathering to play. The rest of the book allows us to see what they see. A pirate adventure is at hand with Bluebeard, Blackbeard, Beigebeard, Eyepatch Sue, Peg Leg Jones and more. Told in verse, the rhyme and rhythm could use some work, but the overall story is a fun romp through childhood imagination. At least until a broom-wielding mom from the S.S. Clean Your Room shows up.
What’s good: Teague’s illustrations are always captivating, keeping readers occupied and engaged.
What’s bad: A little too much nostalgia and too little chaotic childhood rambunctiousness.
By Jeffrey Salane
Best for: Ages 8-12
The final installment of the Lawless series offers teen fans of thrillers, spies, mysteries and action plenty to get excited about. Although you’ll have more invested in the characters if you have read the first books in the series, Lawless and Justice, this new installment stands on its own very nicely. Backstory is filled in through easy dialogue and action as new mysteries and plans unfold. Readers of the first two books will have just as much trouble keeping up with the twists and turns as newcomers to the series. Hold on tight, Mayhem is fast-paced and unpredictable.
What’s good: Fast-paced, unpredictable action with a touch of humor.
What’s bad: As with the first two books, you have to set aside any pretense of a hold on reality.