________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 27. . . .March 18, 2016


The Ghastly McNastys: Raiders of the Lost Shark. (The Ghastly McNastys; 2).

Lyn Gardner. Illustrated by Ros Asquith.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2015.
143 pp., pbk. & hc., $8.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77138-147-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77138-129-1 (hc.).

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Penny McGill.

***˝ /4


Trevor Augustus Trout, known to everyone as Tat, and his best friend Hetty, were sitting side by side in class trying to solve some hideously horrible math problems that their teacher, Miss Green, had assigned. They were the kind of math problems that make you feel as if your brain has turned into squirming worms that are being gobbled alive by hungry ostriches – unless you are Hetty, who was the cleverest girl in Little Snoring and possibly the cleverest brainiac in the entire universe. Her brain loved math problems – the more hideous and horrible the better. Everyone always said that Hetty knew everything (which wasn’t quite true because she definitely didn’t know where Captain Syd’s treasure was buried).


The Ghastly McNastys: Raiders of the Lost Shark, the second book in the clever “Ghastly McNasty” series, begins with Captains Grisly and Gruesome escaping from the inside of a whale’s stomach, but the true heroes of this story are the children who once again prove that, when you work together, you can be victorious against horrible pirates. The pirates live up to their descriptive names, and, in the first chapter, one brother fools the other into eating rabbit droppings by convincing him they are chocolate-covered raisins. Despite their silliness, more than once it seems as if the twin villains might gain the upper hand and reach the treasure first, but they are no match for the cleverness of two schoolchildren. When they meet this time, they are on the set of a movie being filmed in the children’s home town which happens to have a crumbling old castle with a hidden treasure. Their rollicking battle involves dungeons, a doughnut fight, giant spiders, drawbridges and moats filled with sharks – ingredients for the best finale in a book or film.

     The McNastys have battled the children before, and they try very hard to avoid seeing them again and fall into brotherly squabbling; however, when they try to sneak their way onto the film set in an attempt to find Captain Sid’s treasure, their ruthless nature takes hold and makes them seem more like the enemy that main characters Tat and Hetty should fear. The author blends the seriousness nature of the battle between the pirates and the children with the friendships of the children and their community very nicely, preventing the story from ever becoming too frightening or too sweet.

     Tat and Hetty are assisted in their search for the treasure by a former first mate of the McNastys and their school teacher, Miss Green. She is introduced as a no-nonsense style of teacher who likes her students to focus on their studies so seriously that, even on the last day of school, she has them working on math problems to the very last minute and is quite frustrated to find that the children in her class are unable to focus when the film crew for the “Raiders of the Lost Shark” movie arrives in town. The chapter of the book that focuses on their classroom introduces Tat’s love of jam sandwiches which come in handy later in his skirmish with the McNastys. The entire book is sprinkled with clever illustrations, and, in this chapter, a small one is included of an eyeball with a butter knife beside it, suggesting that the phrase ‘keeping your eyes peeled’ does not mean actually peeling them because “they are not potatoes”.

     Despite all the mentions of slime and snot and wonderful asides, the message that rings true at the end of this novel is that children can make a difference when they keep their heads and use their gifts to help their friends. Another lasting takeaway is that, if you are a ghastly pirate team that is cruel to children, you begin a book in a smelly whale’s stomach and then end it in the horrible stomach of a giant shark. Readers who enjoy The Ghastly McNastys: The Lost Treasure of Little Snoring, will also like The Ghastly McNastys: Raiders of the Lost Shark.

Highly Recommended.

Penny McGill is a library assistant with an enthusiastic reading habit at the Waterloo Public Library in Waterloo, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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