________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 11 . . . . November 16, 2012


South Sea Adventure.

Willard Price.
London, UK: Red Fox Books (Distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada), 1952/2012.
277 pp., trade pbk., $10.95.
ISBN 978-0-099-48224-6.

Grades 9-11 / Ages 14-16.

Review by Elaine Fuhr.




When the net was all out the dinghy was about fifty feet from the ship. The lead of the net was made fast to the mooring bitts in the dinghy.

The circle the big fellow was making should bring him right into the net. Just what would happen then, nobody dared guess. Around came the sea bat. He ignored the boat. He looked far larger and more terrifying than he had from the deck of the ship. The upper edge of the net projected from the water.

The devilfish seemed to sense that there was some obstruction ahead of him. But instead of slowing down or swimming to one side he came faster and faster until he was going like a speedboat.

Then he suddenly came clear of the water and soared through the air. He crossed ten feet above the net. He looked like a flying barn door carried away by a cyclone. He reminded Hal of a Northrop flying wing. Then he hit the water on the other side of the net with a sound like the report of a five-inch naval gun.

Then he came ploughing around again in another circle. His excitement seemed to be transferred to the other mantas and they began to leap out of the water, coming down again with terrific smacks. Some of them turned complete somersaults, with their white bellies gleaming in the sun.

Curiosity was bringing them closer to the small boat.

“They’re ganging up on us,” cried Roger. Hal began to believe the captain was right. Only a crazy fool could put himself and two companions in the way of twenty-eight devilfish.

What young person would not enjoy this exciting story of adventure on the high seas, and I say person because, while this story was originally written for boys, I believe that today’s adventurous young girls will enjoy this story as much as boys. The granddaughters of Willard Price are bringing back these incredible adventure stories about two teenage brothers, Roger and Hal, who travel and work from the Arctic to the Amazon and beyond. Their assignments are often dangerous and always exciting. These well-written novels include many fascination facts about the areas that the boys travel and about the animals they capture. In South Sea Adventure, not only do they face danger in their assignment, but they are given a top secret mission that will put them in grave danger. They take on a young Polynesian boy, Omo, who helps them with his vast knowledge of survival in the South Pacific, and this knowledge saves them from death when they are stranded on a coral island with literally nothing on its surface. The boys soon learn to truly respect the cultures and skills of other peoples. Author Willard Price travelled to over one hundred countries before the time of air plane travel, and information from many of those countries and his experiences is hidden in the pages of his beloved stories.

      Though these stories were written many years ago, they are not dated in any way and are exciting reads for young people. I know I will be giving these novels to the young people in my life.

Highly Recommended.

Elaine Fuhr is a retired elementary and middle school teacher from Alberta.

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

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