The tale of Mary, an 18th-century London street urchin who dresses as a boy, renames herself "Jacky" and goes to sea as a ship's boy, soars to new heights in the audio format. Mary's distinctive Cockney dialect is tailor-made for reading aloud. And with award-winning narrator Kellgren at the helm, the result is pure magic. She creates authentic character voices, switching effortlessly among Mary's Cockney, the melodic Irish lilt of sailor Liam, the educated American voice of schoolmaster Tilden, the chillingly sinister, leering tone of Jacob Sloat and many other voices without missing a beat. Her acting is also first-rate: her tone of pride as Mary boasts of her achievements, her tenderness as she speaks of Jaimy, the boy she secretly falls in love with, and the sheer terror in her voice during scenes of violence and danger will have listeners on the edge of their seats. For tweens and teens caught up in this summer's Pirate Fever,Bloody Jackis the perfect audiobook to make those long family car trips fly by. Ages 12-up. (May)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Twelve year-old Mary Faber knows hunger and coldness and loneliness. After losing her family to the plague and being thrown out on the streets, she survives by taking up with a street gang of other orphans. When the opportunity arises to work as a ship boy, Mary jumps at the chance not to fight for food and shelter every day. She chops off her hair, dons a pair of boy's britches, and becomes Jacky Faber. Aboard the ship, the ship boys quickly form a close-knit group, working, laughing, and watching out for each other. Jacky keeps up her charade and grows accustomed to her new life. But trouble seems to follow her wherever she goes. Whether it's getting blamed for growing unease among the crew or unexpectedly falling in love with a fellow ship's boy, Jacky must use every thing she learned on the street to keep up her deception. This is a properly thrilling adventure with pirates, shipwrecks, and even a little romance, able to pull in both boys and girls. Although Jacky is actually a girl, at times the reader completely forgets the charade. Transported into a time of pirates and plagues, readers will gain a better understanding of the late eighteenth century. 2002, Harcourt,
This stands up to Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and to Iain Lawrence's trilogy of sea adventures: the action is riveting, the settings exotic and realistically described, the main character is memorably inventive and courageous. At the beginning of the 19th century, Mary, an orphan on London's mean streets, disguises herself as a boy and signs on to His Majesty's Navy as a ship boy. The ship holds 400 men and is assigned to hunt for pirates along the coast of North Africa and in the Caribbean. Mary, now Jacky, is small for her age and tough, so she has no trouble maintaining The Deception, as she names her task of shielding the truth about her identity. Life on board ship is described vividly and the reader feels a part of the voyages. A few years pass and Jacky starts to fill out a bit and gets her period, so her subterfuge gets trickier. She and the boys are quite ignorant about sexual matters, for the most part, but they have been warned against pederasts, admonished to stick together for protection. Jacky is falling in love with another ship's boy, Jaimy, who in horror tells her he is afraid he is like a pederast because he is attracted to her (Jaimy thinks she is a boy at this point). Jacky reveals her secret and the two sneak around finding places to tryst like any other pair of teenage lovers. Speaking of pederasts, there is one on board, who almost rapes Jacky. Fortunately, she has the presence of mind (and the dagger) to kill him. This is only one scene of violent mayhem, as pirate attacks on the ship occur and Jacky earns her title Bloody Jack for good reason. The action gets only more thrilling towards the end of the book, as Jacky, with an eyeglass, is hoistedonto a kite as a lookout, but the tree the kite is lashed to is uprooted and she flies away for miles across the sea. Fortuitously, she lands on an island where pirates have stashed their treasure, and so it goes. There is drama until the final page. Any younger YA—through 14 or 15 years old—would love this, and even the passages of dialect shouldn't deter readers. Category: Hardcover Fiction. KLIATT Codes: J*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 2002, Harcourt, 277p.,
Claire Rosser; KLIATT
Gr 6-8-With the plague running rampant in London in 1797, Mary's parents and sister are soon counted among the dead. Left alone and penniless, the eight-year-old is taken in by a gang of orphans and learns survival skills. However, when their leader is killed, Mary decides to try her luck elsewhere. She strips the dead body, cuts her hair, renames herself Jack Faber, and is soon employed as a ship's boy on the HMS Dolphin. When the vessel sees its first skirmish with a pirate ship, her bravery saves her friend Jaimy and earns her the nickname "Bloody Jack." Told by Mary/Jack in an uneven dialect that sometimes doesn't ring true, the story weaves details of life aboard the Dolphin. Readers see how she changes her disguise based on her own physical changes and handles the "call of nature," her first experiences with maturation, and the dangers to boys from unscrupulous crew members. The protagonist's vocabulary, her appearance and demeanor, and her desire to be one of the boys and do everything they do without complaint complete the deception. This story also shows a welcome slant to this genre with an honorable, albeit strict Captain, and ship's mates who are willing and able teachers. If readers are looking for a rousing, swashbuckling tale of pirates and adventures on the high seas, this title falls short. However, it is a good story of a brave ship's "boy" with natural leadership abilities and a sense of fair play and humanity.-Kit Vaughan, Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Posing as a lad in the late 1790s, a spunky orphan girl secures a job as a ship's boy in the British Navy, a position that becomes compromised by her evolving maturity and love for a fellow crewmember. Meyer, a debut novelist, has penned a rousing old-time girl's adventure story, with an outsized heroine who is equal parts gutsy and vulnerable, then sets her loose on a pirate-hunting vessel in the high seas. The novel is full of action and derring-do, but the real suspense is generated by maintaining what the heroine calls "The Deception," her disguise as a boy. Initially, it's fairly easy because Jacky, as the heroine decides to call herself, is as flat-chested, hairless, and high-voiced as the rest of the boys. She simulates using the ship's head, imitating the boys' "shake-and-wiggle action" and even creates a faux penis out of cloth under her drawers, so that she's as "well rigged out" as the rest of the lads. Clever and courageous, Jacky deals with both the ship's bully and pedophile, fights pirates valiantly, and manages to save the day for her shipmates, enabling them to secure the buccaneers' booty. Jacky is such a marvelous creation that the other characters feel shadowy in comparison, and the least engaging parts of the novel involve her secret romance with a fellow ship's boy. Capped by a fitting but bittersweet ending, the first-person narrative shines, and a wealth of historical research is seamlessly knitted into the material. A first-rate read. (Fiction. 12+)