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Escape from the Carnivale (Never Land Series #1)

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Little Scallop should be happy. She?s a princess of the Mollusk tribe, rulers of beautiful Mollusk Island. And she has two fun friends - Aqua and Surf - who just happen to be mermaids.

But Little Scallop is bored. Her warrior brothers are allowed to do exciting things, like spying on the pirates who live on the other side of the island. Little Scallop longs to have a real adventure. When Aqua and Surf invite her to go pearl-diving - even though...

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Little Scallop should be happy. She’s a princess of the Mollusk tribe, rulers of beautiful Mollusk Island. And she has two fun friends - Aqua and Surf - who just happen to be mermaids.

But Little Scallop is bored. Her warrior brothers are allowed to do exciting things, like spying on the pirates who live on the other side of the island. Little Scallop longs to have a real adventure. When Aqua and Surf invite her to go pearl-diving - even though she knows she shouldn’t - she can’t resist.

So late one night, she sneaks off into forbidden waters with Aqua and Surf. That’s when the trouble starts - they run into a fierce storm and a strange ship sailed by men who would love to capture a mermaid. Soon, Little Scallop is caught up in the adventure she always wanted. The question is: can she and her friends get out of it?

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Thanks to this new spin-off series, Peter, Molly, and the pirates have hit the beach for young readers. The characters of the Peter and the Starcatchers novels reappear in this absorbing story about life on Mollusk Island. The plot begins percolating when Little Scallop and some of her mermaid friends venture beyond boundaries set by their parents. Crookshank's crew snatch little Surf and take her aboard their ship. Devilishly, they intend to make her a sideshow action in their circus at sea. Fortunately, Little Scallop, Teacher, James, and Aqua cobble together a plan to rescue her in the nick of time. A sweet story for readers 7 to 10.
Publishers Weekly
Devotees of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's prequels to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan (Peter and the Starcatchers; Peter and the Shadow Thieves) will want to check out their Escape from the Carnivale, illus. by Greg Call, the first in a Never Land Adventure series told from the viewpoint of the creatures that give Mollusk Island its name. Little Scallop, daughter of chief mollusk Fighting Prawn, befriends mermaids Aqua and Surf who gets kidnapped by humans. It's up to Little Scallop to save her. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Triss Robinson
This delightful story from the "Never Land Book" series is an adventure that will appeal to both young boys and girls alike. The story is make believe. It involves an island, natives, pirates, lost boys, mermaids and a bored young princess called Little Scallop who is ready for an adventure with her two mermaid friends. The two mermaids convince Little Scallop to go to the Great Reef and look for beautiful pearls. Since Little Scallop's father, the chief, has forbidden her from ever leaving the lagoon, they decide to wait and go after everyone is asleep that night. What they find at the Great Reef is not pearls, but a ship intent on catching unusual sea animals for their variety show. One of the mermaids gets caught in their net and is captured. This is where the adventure really starts for Little Scallop. Enlisting the help from the other mermaids and the lost boys from the island, they develop a dangerous plan to free the mermaid while having to deal with a group of angry pirates from the island bent on taking the ship for themselves. There is humor and lively action in this story, which makes it delightfully entertaining for young readers.
School Library Journal

Gr 3–6
The incomparable Jim Dale narrates Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's latest book (Disney Editions, 2006) in the Never Land series. Little Scallop, a princess of the Mollusk tribe, disobeys her father and decides to go exploring beyond the immediate seashore with her best friends, Aqua and Surf. The two mermaids take Little Scallop on a pearl diving expedition that leads them to the mysterious and dangerous part of Mollusk Island. Little Scallop, always jealous of her older brothers' adventures, gets a bit more than she bargained for when Surf is captured by a ship full of greedy men who have a traveling freak show. Horrible storms, Captain Hook, bizarre sea monsters, and frightening creatures are encountered in order to free Surf. Many familiar characters from Peter Pan make appearances. Dale gives a brilliant performance, using different voices and accents to differentiate the characters, and a well-paced narration to build suspense in this fantasy filled with humor.
—B. Allison GrayCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Disobeying their elders, Little Scallop and her mermaid friends Aqua and Surf go out past the reef in search of beautiful pearls. Unfortunately, Surf is captured by sailors on The Carnivale, a sideshow ship. To the rescue come James of the lost boys and some dolphin friends who combine to free the mermaid moments before the pirates would have arrived, if it weren't for the timely appearance of the giant crocodile still chasing Captain Hook. This Never Land adventure, first of a series for younger readers by the authors of the bestselling Peter and the Starcatchers (2004), lacks much more than Peter Pan. The stock characters have a completely predictable adventure in a stereotyped setting. The pirate subplot is unconvincing and unnecessary. Although the book is relatively short, the vocabulary and sentence structure are not noticeably easier than those for older readers and will be challenging for the intended audience. Older reluctant readers, however, may find the familiarity reassuring and the nonstop action an incentive to finishing. (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423309529
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 9/1/2006
  • Series: Never Land Series , #1
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Dave Barry is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of more than two dozen books including The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog; Dave Barry’s Money Secrets; Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys; Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway; and Big Trouble.

Ridley Pearson is the bestselling author of twenty-three novels, including the young adult novel The Kingdom Keepers and the adult thrillers Killer Weekend, Cut and Run, The Pied Piper, The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer, Beyond Recognition, and Undercurrents.


In the introduction to Dave Barry Is Not Taking This Sitting Down, the author addresses the desirability of his job as a humor writer and syndicated columnist. "It looks so easy!" he wrote. "...Every year, hundreds of thousands of people try their hand at this demanding profession. After a few months, almost all of them have given up and gone back to the ninth grade."

Yes, Barry is juvenile at times -- but he has achieved the kind of success that can only come from combining a juvenile mind with intelligence, timing, and a keen eye for the absurd. Favorite Barry targets include government inanity, dogs, guys, the Internet, and other oddities of life. He also specializes in weird news and urban myths involving UFO hunters, Pop-Tart science, and toilets. Many of these essays feature the line that has become his catchphrase, "I am not making this up." (Unless, of course, he is introducing something serious and daunting such as a book about the federal government, in which case he reassures that he has made everything up.)

Usually, though, he's not making it up. What he's doing is making it very funny. Whether the target is Congress or commercials, Barry refuses to take anything seriously, least of all himself – but he manages to convey some pretty indicting truths in the process. He's a master of irony and visual punchlines, sometimes interrupting himself with lists, snippets of dialogue, or other on-topic digressions. On the subject of turning 50 and dealing with waning eyesight (a "good thing" about aging, because "you can't read anything"), Barry describes finding restaurant menus suddenly printed "in letters the height of bacteria." He continues: "For some reason, everybody else seemed to be able to read the menus. Not wishing to draw attention to myself, I started ordering my food by simply pointing to a likely looking blur.

ME (pointing to a blur): I'll have this.
WAITER: You'll have "We Do Not Accept Personal Checks"?
ME: Make that medium rare."

Barry has had the most successful and prolific publishing career of any working newspaper columnist, and his humor never seems to go out of style. In 1999, he decided to try his hand at fiction. The result was Big Trouble, a comic thriller à la Carl Hiassen (though filled more with gags than guns) that Entertainment Weekly proclaimed "... not only very funny, [but] sure-footed, even-handed, levelheaded, and other leading book review adjectives." In 2004, he and Ridley Pearson collaborated on Peter and the Starcatchers, a clever prequel to Peter Pan that spawned two additional novels and a series of spin-off children's chapter books.

Along with several other published authors, Barry is a member of the musical group Rock Bottom Remainders. In assessing the band's talents, he has been quoted as saying: "They are not musically skilled, but they are extremely loud."

Good To Know

The Rock Bottom Remainders was originally organized by a publicist to perform at the 1992 American Booksellers Association convention. The members -- which include (or have included) Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, Barbara Kingsolver, Mitch Albom, and Matt Groening -- even took their show on the road at one point, turning it into the now out-of-print Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude.

Some things never change: Barry was elected class clown by his Pleasantville High School class in 1965.

Barry got his start in journalism at the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pennsylvania, then worked as a business writing consultant before joining the Miami Herald in 1983.

Attempts to convert Barry's humor to the screen have been less than memorable. The early '90s CBS sitcom based on two of his books and starring Harry Anderson, Dave's World, was short-lived; the spring 2002 release Big Trouble, starring Tim Allen, didn't fare well at the box office. Barry did, however, get a cameo in the latter.

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    1. Hometown:
      Miami, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 3, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Armonk, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Haverford College, 1969
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2008

    Great book for younger children

    This book is written by the same authors who created 'Peter and the Star Catchers.' Both books act as prequels to the familiar story of Peter Pan. However, where 'Peter and the Star Catchers' is appropriate for older children and young adolescents, 'Escape from the Carnivale' was written for younger children. It would be a terrific book for those children who are beginning to read chapter books. The action in the story starts quickly, so the reader is drawn into the story, and the quick pace is maintained throughout the short chapters. Even though Peter himself does not appear in the story, the main characters are all young children that readers will be able to relate to. Some characters were introduced in 'Peter and the Star Catchers,' but the story line is separate from that series, so understanding and enjoyment is not dependent on reading the other book. The black and white drawings, which are placed liberally throughout the book, are pleasing and nicely illustrate the action of the story. The plot line is enjoyable. A young girl must recruit the help of one of the Lost Boys when her mermaid friend is captured. Their adventure has them confronting Captain Hook and his pirates, fierce storms, and the gigantic crocodile. There is a heart-warming ending, in which the girls learn a valuable lesson about the consequences of not listening to their elders. The nice thing about this book, as well as 'Peter and the Star Catchers,' is that Pearson and Barry stay true to the original elements of Peter Pan. You will see Lost Boys, Captain Hook and his pirates, mermaids, crocodiles, and the native people who live on the island. The only big draw-back to the book was the use of a few words that may be too hard for young children to read and understand on their own. For example, 'phosphorescence' was used a couple of times, as well as 'mustachioed.' Children may need someone to tell them these words and their meanings. While this book is not of the same magnitude of 'Peter and the Star Catchers,' it must be remembered that this is a separate (but related) series. It is a good adventure story for the target audience which is young children.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    AMAZING! Kids and Teens love the thrill!

    Take your imagination to beyond what it can handle. The Never Land Series is very well written with thrills, imagination, and heart. Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson write amazing books and this is one of my favorites. It's a must-read for any creative or "Disne-loving" kid!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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