Children's Literature - Laura J. BrownThirteen-year-old Mike lives in two different worlds. One world is with his mother and stepfather in California, where life is orderly and predictable. The second world is with his biologist/professor father that is anything but predictable. Mike's transition from one world to another is dictated by the school calendar. He spends the school year with his mom and stepfather and the summer with his dad, Ray. The one thing that Mike holds dear, no matter where he is, is his love of coin collecting. Mike has made the journey from California, to an isolated island off the coast of Alabama. As always, Ray is busy with his students, and at first, Mike thinks it is going to be a long, hot, uneventful summer, until he becomes friends with another professor's son, Kyle. Kyle is from Alabama and knows the area well. He helps Mike understand the unique Alabama culture. Kyle takes Mike fishing, and Mike shows Kyle part of his coin collection. They are both interested in the recently discovered Civil War ship that was found at the bottom of the bay, but try as they may, they cannot get any information about if from the men who are exploring it. Then one day, as they are exploring the restricted area of a local fort, they discover something very small, very old, and very valuable, that just may solve the mystery of the shipwrecked Confederate ship that they cannot get access too, but their discovery also puts them in danger. This is a mystery with a historical fiction subplot that readers will truly enjoy; the book will teach students about the Civil War, the U.S. Mint, the Alabama coastline, and marina wildlife all at the same time and is an excellent selection for summer reading lists. Reviewer:Laura J. Brown
School Library JournalGr 4–8—Mike, 13, reluctantly boards a plane from California to Florida to spend the summer with his divorced father, who is a marine biologist. He is told after he lands that they will not be in Pensacola but on Shipwreck Island off the coast of Alabama. He feels stranded and neglected, thinking that the weeks will drag with little to keep him occupied. After a slow beginning, Mike's summer of 1973 becomes more and more exciting when he and a new friend make an unexpected discovery at an old Civil War fort. The boys are just beginning to unravel the mystery surrounding their find when a hurricane threatens and they discover that thieves are after their treasure. Mike's narrative moves quickly with likable and believable characters. The story will have particular appeal to readers with an interest in historical places and artifacts.—Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD
Kirkus ReviewsWhile visiting his father on a barrier island near Mobile, Ala., 13-year-old Mike Gilbert finds a friend, a gold coin, lost treasure and more excitement than he'd bargained for. This suspenseful adventure opens with an introductory section describing the last run of the Skink, a paddle-wheel steamer escaping New Orleans in 1862. More than 100 years later, in June 1973, a salvage boat searches for the wreck just offshore, while Mike and Kyle explore a crumbling Civil War fort where they find a gold coin that might have been part of the load the Skink carried. Not surprisingly, the boys attract the attention of other treasure seekers, some of them armed. Although the setup requires some historical background and coin-collecting details, Mike's first-person narration moves along quickly, the action spiraling to a climactic confrontation just before a devastating hurricane. A final chapter-a news story dated November 2009-allows readers to imagine a highly satisfactory ending. Reluctant readers carried along by the plot will encounter some interesting history along the way. (Thriller. 10-14)
- Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
- Age Range:
- 9 - 12 Years
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