Author: D.M. Darroch
Publication Date: February 1, 2012
Publisher: Independent – Sleepy Cat Press
Number of pages: 230
Recommended age: 8+
Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
Summary (Back Cover)
A parallel universe, a pirate ship, a talking bird, and one seriously eccentric captain.
After a laboratory mishap, inventor-in-training Angus Clark finds himself aboard the Fearsome Flea. The pirate crew mistakes the middle schooler for his alter ego, a dirty, rude cannon boy. Clever Angus must face a sea battle, a nasty mutineer, and walk the plank. Helped by a sassy, body jumping macaw and a fastidious, cookie-baking pirate captain, Angus uses his ingenuity and trusty screwdriver to set the worlds right.
My Thoughts: Meet Angus Clark, the creative genius who is bored in school and who dreams up endless ideas including a list: “Animals I can control remotely and make $$$.” But his greatest invention turns out to be a hand-held incinerator (the “World Jumper”) which gives him the ability to travel to alternate dimensions. His first stop? A pirate ship, the “Fearsome Flea”, led by the merciless captain, “Maniacal Marge”. Angus is quickly mistaken for another pirate, the cannon boy Booty Poker (BP).
Angus is quickly taken under the wing of a mouthy macaw who turns out to be none other than his arch-nemesis at school, Ivy, who explains that Angus has landed in a parallel universe. In this riveting plot, Ivy enlists the help of Angus to assist her in finally returning to her home universe. While Angus is able to transport his body and mind to another universe, Ivy only has the ability to transport her mind, using various animals as host bodies. As luck would have it, Ivy’s ability to “switch” bodies on a whim saves their skin more than once: for example, when Angus is forced to walk the plank.
But, if Angus is on board the pirate ship, where could BP have vanished to? As expected, BP has switched places with Angus and finds himself under the care of Angus’ parents. Many comical moments arise as the scruffy, “rough-around-the-edges” BP must now literally clean up his act and learn to behave with civility (such as not blowing his nose with the tablecloth). The parts featuring the rude and crude BP provide some of the funniest moments in the book.
I love how the author weaves in creativity and imagination throughout the twisting plot. For example, when Ivy and Angus get marooned on the island with Captain Hank (i.e., the original captain of the Fearsome Flea), Angus (with the help of brainiac Ivy) has to use his considerable scientific knowledge to construct a sailing vessel to take them back to the Fearsome Flea to re-capture the Incinerator. This involves building and testing “motors” and making glue, for example. The author goes to considerable length in describing the characters’ thought processes. Very well done!
So, at the end of the day, will Ivy make it back to her home universe? Will BP return to the Fearsome Flea? Will Angus finally go home? HINT: This is Book One and the answer to all 3 questions is neither “Yes” nor “No”!
My Bottom Line: The Pirate’s Booty: Inventor-in-Training is a quirky, funny, and imaginative book, featuring cleverly written characters, a twisting plot, and a unique and entertaining adventure. I immensely enjoyed reading this book. I think it is completely appropriate for middle graders (i.e., no bad language, no violence) and I think boys in particular (ages 8+) would really enjoy this book.
* This book was provided to us free-of-charge in exchange for our honest review.*
About the Author (Amazon)
D.M. Darroch is inspired by the smart, quirky children in her life and the adults who love and guide them. She has penned newspaper feature articles, written software guides and technical whitepapers, and worked as a technical translator. She graduated from American University with a B.A. in literature, German, and economics and from Thunderbird School of Global Management with an M.I.M. You may meet her on a hiking trail in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where she lives with her husband, son, and two opinionated felines.
For more information about D.M. Darroch and her books please visit http://dmdarroch.com/
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