________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 7. . . .October 16, 2009


Journey to Atlantis. (The Submarine Outlaw Series).

Philip Roy.
Vancouver, BC: Ronsdale Press, 2009.
222 pp., pbk., $10.95.
ISBN 978-1-55380-076-7.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9 -12.

Review by Karen Taylor.

**** /4



It was easier to dive more deeply and hold my breath longer in warmer water, and this made diving more fun. I was having such a good time in fact that I just kind of assumed I was alone in the water.

I wasn't.

At the bottom I discovered sponges attached to rocks, just like the sponges Sheba kept in her bathroom back in Newfoundland, except maybe a little rougher. I put my hand on one and squeezed it. It felt the same, but was attached to the rock and wouldn't come off with a strong tug. It would have to be cut off. I decided to return to the sub for a knife. I turned ... and froze! No more than fifteen feet away was a large shark! It came straight towards me then veered off at the last second. Its mouth was open and I saw rows of jagged teeth. It all happened so quickly I never had time to think. I was frightened but didn't panic. The shark swam around in a circle then came back. It was fast! I had to return to the surface for air but was afraid to move. The shark came towards me again so quickly I saw its whole body shake with exertion. I got ready to duck. Just then, a slim brown body went over my head, straight towards the shark! The shark veered again and vanished. The figure was holding a knife in his hand. He turned and faced me. He smiled.


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.

Highly Recommended.

Karen Taylor is a Master of Arts in Children's Literature candidate at the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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