CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 7. . . .October 16, 2009
Philip Roy presents another exciting adventure story in Journey to Atlantis, the second book in his "Submarine Outlaw" series. In this truly enjoyable tale of bravery, friendship, and exploration, 15-year-old Albert travels by submarine across the Atlantic and around the Mediterranean Sea in search of the lost city of Atlantis. During his travels, Albert, who has a knack for collecting unusual friends, rescues a fisherman from his sinking boat during a storm, evades pirates, gets shot at, blows up a WWII sea mine, goes hiking with a movie star, and repairs a water pump for a family living in the Sahara desert in his recently upgraded one-person submarine. These are but a few of Albert's unusual encounters. And there are many! His crew, Seaweed the seagull and Hollie the dog, familiar to readers from Submarine Outlaw, keep him company and serve as a bridge to developing trust with strangers and making new friends. Roy covers a neatly fused set of events and topics in an informative and non-didactic way that only enhance Albert's telling of his travels. Readers will walk away from this book able to participate in conversations as wide ranging as marine law, ancient Minoan society, and the topographical and climatological features of the Mediterranean area.
One of my favourite parts of the book was Roy's detail of the submarine's interior—it sounds so well planned out and efficient that even the most claustrophobic readers will wish they could travel in such comfortable quarters. His description of the underwater topography and ocean currents is factual and nicely presented in Albert's words which make these topics both interesting and easy to understand. Curious readers can easily use a map to follow Albert's journey based on the accurately described landmarks. Roy also manages to retain the Canadian context of this book with references to Newfoundland and Canada's international relations. Journey to Atlantis would be useful in the classroom, especially when read along with a geography or social studies unit on modern ocean travel, the Mediterranean area, or ancient Minoan society. Beyond its practical applications, Journey to Atlantis is really interesting! Albert and his friends are kind and generous people who exemplify, without being saccharine, the best humanitarian qualities in a realistic light. Albert carefully weighs the odds when making potentially life threatening decisions and stays true to his moral compass while engaging with his chosen lifestyle as an explorer. This book would interest young readers between 9 and 12 years old. As Albert is 15 in this story, reluctant readers as old as 14 would enjoy it as well.
Karen Taylor is a Master of Arts in Children's Literature candidate at the University of British Columbia.
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