Maurice Reidy--nicknamed "Fish" because of his incredible swimming abilities--is sent to work as a courier to help support his struggling family. Entrusted with a mysterious package of coins, Fish is waylaid by pirates who abscond with his delivery. But he's determined to get the coins back by joining the crew: some of the wiliest (and smelliest) pirates on the high seas.
On board the pirate ship, Fish learns two things: that the strange coins could be the key to finding a fabulous treasure, and that the nasty first mate, Scab, could be planning a mutiny. Can Fish retrieve the coins, find the treasure, save his family, and thwart Scab's dastardly plans?
Gregory Mone has written a fast-paced novel crackling with suspence and humor, starring an unlikely hero you won't soon forget.
I love pirates, though I admit my knowledge is largely centered on Captain Jack Sparrow. They are a weird group to love, because there is no escaping the fact that pirates are smelly, murderous thieves. But Mone cleared my conscience by showing that there are, in fact, two kinds of pirates. There are those who pillage and plunder and kill (those which are pretty impossible to like), and then there are those who pursue mysterious treasures in dangerous waters (those which are AWESOME).
Fish starts off as neither--he's just a delivery boy. The most dedicated delivery boy in the world. And then he believably becomes an awesome pirate. His ability to swim is unique in the world of piracy (which seems odd), and his non-fighting is actually incredibly awesome. Who knew a non-fight could be just as dramatic as a real-fight?
What I loved most about Fish is that it dealt with the reality of life on a pirate ship (the smells, the fights, the politics) without ever being heavy-handed or too gruesomely detailed. This is a perfect middle grade pirate book.
Four out of five Chains of Chuacar.
Release Date: June 2010
Reading Level: Grade 4+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: Not currently part of Dunlap's collection.
Don't believe me? Check out these reviews of Fish:
The Book Pirate