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Author: Jim Kaserman and Sara Jane Kaserman

Illustrator: Lorrie M. Bennett

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Publisher: Pirate Publishing International,

Material: paperback

Summary: It's December 1778, and Samuel Reed has joined the crew of The American Dream, a pirate ship enlisted by the Patriots to help garner supplies and thwart the British. When they come upon an abandoned ship with toys, the crew must decide whether to continue on for their safety, or offload the ship and distribute its cargo. Christmas and the Revolutionary War take center stage in this chapter book for preteens.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 14; read yourself: 9 to 12

Interest Level: 9 to 12

Reading Level: 5.2

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: This was a sweet, enchanting book about Pirates during the Revolutionary War. Children of all ages were the target for this book, but I believe younger children will enjoy it more than the older kids.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a nice change from the usual holiday fare. Although this is fictional, the authors weave history into the tale, making it fun, seasonal, and a learning opportunity all in about two hours' time!

Pros: This is a good 20-minutes-a-day before bedtime story. It has much suspense and leaves you wanting to read more. The story moves quickly, blending legend, history, and seasonal goodwill. Older children will be attracted to it because its not a picture book (I.e., Santa and 'kid stuff').

Cons: None, really. It might be nice to have some "additional reading" recommendations, though.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! The story is a great read-aloud for all ages, and older children will like having a more 'grown up' story.


Educational Themes: Although this is a holiday tale with a seasonal message, the book offers much more. It is a great launchpad for studying privateers, the Revolutionary War, the role of blacks, as well as legends and folklore.

Literary Categories: Fiction - adventure, Christmas, historical fiction, pirates, middle grade

Date(s) Reviewed: October 2005

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