________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 13 . . . . March 1, 2002

cover Captain Jenny & the Sea of Wonders.

Duncan Thornton. Illustrated by Yves Noblet.
Regina, SK: Coteau Books, 2001.
291 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 1-55050-194-1.

Subject Heading:
Women sea captains-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 5 and up / Ages 10 and up.

Review by Tony Payzant.

***1/2 /4


But it was then that she recovered herself, became Jenny proud and wordy once again. "For they think I am merely a helpless fisher-girl," she said, discounting that I am also a spirited Explorer, hand-chosen by an emissary of the King Beneath the Sea; and they believe you are only an old man with one leg, whereas in fact you are a grizzled sailor of vast experience. And Sparky, he is faithful beyond words, even if he seems timid.

The Cook looked around at the flotsam on the beach: the wrecked mast and broken manger and tangled bits of rigging from the Ruggles, and the odd piece of driftwood. He made a kind of grin. "We'll build a boat, then," he said.

Indomitable Jenny! Having been given a Call to Adventure by a magical otter, she assumes command of a ship and a crusty crew of sailors, and sets sail (and oars) for the Sea of Wonders, in search of the Lost City. In the course of their quest, they endure fearsome travails- shipwrecks, pirates, sirens, man-eating monsters and a Mad Philosopher.

     This is Duncan Thornton's second sea adventure tale; it follows Kalifax, the saga of Jenny's friend Tom's adventures on the high seas. Captain Jenny & the Sea of Wonders is an exciting nautical fantasy, told with an old-fashioned eloquence and wit. Jenny is an excellent hero - an outspoken and courageous girl much in the spirit of Pippi Longstocking and Lewis Carroll's Alice, she regretfully abstains from a skipping rope session, as such activity would ill befit the dignity of a sea captain in view of her crew. The ten black and white illustrations by Yves Noblet have a compelling, dream-like quality (although the oarsmen unaccountably face forward!), and the book's design is very attractive, indeed. This high-spirited, magical adventure is a rare gem of a book.

Highly Recommended.

Tony Payzant is a content editor living in Dartmouth, NS.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364