CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 31. . . .April 15, 2016
Pirate Treasure. (Race Further with Reading).
Christophe Miraucourt. Illustrated by Delphine Vaufrey.
St. Catherines, ON: Crabtree, 2015.
48 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $23.49 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-2091-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-2031-7 (RLB).
Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.
Review by Elaine Fuhr.
It was a trap which triggered rocks to slide down the mountain from above. Melinda pushed Ricky out of the way just in time. A boulder now lay where he had stood just a second ago.
“Phew! That was close,” Ricky said.
A while later they reached a village in the middle of a valley.
“Do people live here?” Ricky asked. Suddenly a crowd of farmers with pitchforks and scythes gathered around them.
“We’re in trouble!” said Ricky, shuddering. One of the farmers moved forward, shouting: “You are on forbidden land. Follow me!”
After a struggle over Captain Sproggobbler’s teddy bear, Melinda and Ricky tear the arms off the poor little creature. Fear strikes the kids because, though the captain hasn’t been seen for a very long time, he is reported to be a very scary guy. Suddenly Fatbeak, their parrot, squawks and flies in to grab a tiny pendant that has fallen out of the torn bear. Melinda and Ricky look in wonder at the piece that looks like a bone, but they are not the only ones who see it. Just after dark, the door bursts open and scurvy pirates sweep in, grab the kids and kidnap them. Melinda and Ricky lie, saying that they burned the treasure map that went with the pendant, and have memorized it. The children, saved by the lie, are taken by the pirates
Skeleton Island to find the treasure. But Melinda and Ricky are much smarter and braver than the pirates think. They escape and find a group of farmers who take them to their leader, the infamous Captain Sproggobbler.
This delightful early chapter book, beautifully illustrated by Delphine Vaufrey, is an exciting and fun way to develop interest in reading. Who doesn’t like a pirate story with a mystery that isn’t revealed until the end? Pirate Treasure is leveled at an M in the Guided Reading Program and is one of the leveled books from the “Race Ahead with Reading” program. However, used outside of these programs, it can be treasure in itself to many ages and reading levels. Kindergartens and preschool children would love to be read this story, and what fun it would be to use it for role playing. It would also be ideal for older children with reading challenges because of the high interest material and lower level vocabulary. Pirate Treasure is an ideal book to use with many of the popular reading instruction strategies. And at the back of the book is a very handy feature for the teacher or other adults using this story; a page of ideas to implement before, during and after the reading, including valuable comprehension questions and activities that help develop higher level thinking and comprehension. Though I am now retired, when I find a book like Pirate Treasure, I can’t help but think of all of the fun activities that can be done while children learn to read.
Elaine Fuhr is a retired Alberta teacher of elementary and middle school students.
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