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Summary: Ben the Blue pirate has his boat in ship-shape. He is anxious to get to the island of Acrooacree, but first he must take Greg and Roderick to the Island of the Mer-people. On the way, they meet a blue seahorse and, unfortunately, wild pirates. There is a sea battle and Ben needs help. This is the fourth book in this illustrated pirate adventure series for pre-teen readers.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 10; read yourself 9 to 12
Interest Level: 6 to 10
Age of Child: Shared with 6-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Our child's favorite elements of this story were the animals: the blue seahorse and the Griffin. We were happy to see that she could describe things about the Griffin from the other book.
Adult Reader Reaction: The wild pirates add the "evil" element to this story, but their antics (and those of the dragon) are fairly benign by today's standards. Although you don't necessarily need to read Book 1 before Book 2, the events in this story are such that you'll want to save this one for last.
Pros: This illustrated story brings together good pirates and bad, mystical creatures, and happy endings.
Cons: Some of the older children in this target audience range may feel like they're being "talked down to," particularly in some of the conversational sequences. Although the book is meant for remedial and reluctant readers, the material itself is presented very simplistically.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. If you don't want to read all of the stories, then you can read this one first, as it has the most character development. If pirates are a big thing in your house, read at least one of the others before you read this one.
Educational Themes: There are several discussion themes that can be drawn out from this one. The events in this story are the catalyst for change for both Roderick and Greg. So you can talk about change and personal growth, along with empathy, making good choices, honesty, pursuing your dream, and friendship.
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book series, adventure, pirates