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While our last pirate books gave a realistic view of piracy, this book is strictly fun and fantasy. This book is also book band 9 Gold, but my son found this one much easier to read than the non- fiction pirate books. We have found that to be true throughout this series, the fiction books tend to be a bit easier.
Nate is just an average boy, quite nice and neat looking actually before he is pulled into his pirate video game and becomes "Nasty Nate". The pirates are all for throwing him overboard, but the captain intervenes - saying he needs a cabin boy. What he really needs though, is some one with a very special talent the pirates themselves lack. What is this skill or super power they need? The ability to read. I quite liked this touch, as it shows reading as being useful and also something special.
The story itself is a very simple and basic pirate story of a treasure map and life on the high seas, with an abundance of pirate vocabulary. This book features such phrases as "Shiver me timbers" and "Blast the barnacles off my behind", rather more than I might like, but the children seem to enjoy it, so that's what counts. Will Nate be able to read the map and find the treasure? There is no need for me to give away the ending, so I won't. Both of my sons, ages 2 and 6 enjoyed this book. I can't say that this is great children's literature, but it is a simple, easy to understand story with nice illustrations. The selling point is of course that it is carefully leveled to provide the perfect level of challenge to young readers, as well as being carefully developed so that those same readers will want to read this book. There are a great many books available to teach a child to read from with carefully selected vocabularies which make learning to read easier. There are not nearly so many which boys will actually choose to read. Once again Project X comes through with a book that my son not only CAN read, but also one he WILL read.
This book is available for £5 new from Amazon, or £3.88 new from Amazon Marketplace. I was lucky enough to pick it up for £2 from ebay.
*Book band 9 is usually recommended for ages 6-7 but reading levels vary greatly.