I so wanted to read this book. The summary intrigued me: two quiet sisters (Jaundice and Kale) inadvertently caught up in a pirate adventure, all the while hoping to find their missing parents. It had potential.
Kara LaReau begins each chapter with an advanced vocabulary word and definition that foreshadows the chapter’s theme. This author’s dry humor and word play are admittedly entertaining at the onset. As the bathroom humor crept in, however, my perspective changed.
Jaundice and Kale are kidnapped by a band of female pirates sailing The Jolly Regina because they have a bone to pick with the girls’ parents. (This being the second book featuring women as buccaneers that I had read in one month, I decided it must be a trend in children’s literature.) These “ladies” are as coarse and hardy as any man on the high seas and certainly drink enough to be stereotypical pirates. They use their feminine wiles to lure rival male marauders of the The Testostero, (interesting name for ship) and then proceed to beat them at swordplay. After stealing the men’s pants to use as sails, the crew continues its journey. Jaundice and Kale are forced to swab the decks, but are befriended by the ship’s cook who is mocked by her comrades for being extremely overweight.
Books at this reading level usually have simple plots and minimal character development. That does not preclude a courageous protagonist. (Jaundice and Kale are a bit clueless and live up to their last name – Bland.) Nor does it require stooping to crass humor. Check out our recommended list for this age group in the “our picks” box to the right.
Jennifer Minicus is a teacher living in Ridgewood, NJ.