CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 22. . . .June 26, 2009
Jacob Two-Two is about to become two plus two plus two plus one. He is so worried this addition to his already unwieldy name that he plans to make his family forget about his upcoming seventh birthday. Soon, however, it becomes clear that he has bigger things to worry about as his father announces that the family is moving to Canada. Once on board the SS Spring-a-Leak, Jacob and his new friend, Cindy, are singled out by the sinister first mate, Mr. Scrounger, and sent down to the engine room. Luckily, they are working for Morgenbesser, a kindly giant who likes checkers and cookies. Jacob and Cindy find out that Mr. Scrounger has a parrot and an eye patch, and they worry about what evil designs he may have on the ship. But before they can take action, the SS Spring-a-Leak is attacked by a pirate ship. Little do the pirates know that the only booty on the ship is Cindy's pet mouse named Treasure.
The Child Power heroes, Shapiro and O'Toole, otherwise known as Emma and Noah, Jacob's older brother and sister, try to overpower the pirates, but they are quickly captured and marooned on a desert island. Jacob narrowly avoids having to walk the plank, but he is saved when Cindy reveals her Treasure. The pirates finally accept that there is no gold nor jewels on board, but they take Jacob and Cindy away with them to train to be pirates. The intrepid Shapiro and O'Toole come to their rescue, paddling a raft up to the ship and giving Jacob a treasure map. When the pirates discover the map, they follow its directions to a large island where they come upon the Treasure Theater. The pirates are so excited by the show that they agree to give up a life of buccaneering to become pirate performers. Jacob and Cindy are set free, and they continue on to Montreal where Perry Pleaser, the Prime Minister, gives them medals celebrating their courage.
In this new Jacob Two-Two adventure, the character created by Mordecai Richler reappears as imagined by Cary Fagan. Jacob Two-Two on the High Seas fits well with the earlier books. The goofiness of adults and clever dialogue provide many laughs, and the overall lightness of tone is appropriate for younger readers. This is an adventure story filled with action and light suspense, but without frightening episodes. There are allies as well as villains, and the villains turn out to be more silly than evil: Scrounger has a parrot who will only talk nonsense, and the pirates are at a loss to know where to go to find treasure.
Andrea Galbraith is a librarian, writer, and parent living in Vancouver, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.