Review Blog

Sep 30 2011

Captain Blunderbolt by Carol Ann Martin

cover image

Ill. by Loren Morris. Mates (series). Scholastic. 2011. ISBN 978 1 86291 823 8.
(Ages 6+) Recommended. Life on the goldfields is tough for Alberta, Maudie and Tully Flannigan. Their parents work hard to get money for the family to live, but the school lessons cost threepence a week which they can barely afford. Father goes off to try and find work, but often gets lost coming home. The children would prefer to wag school, and in so doing one day, climb upon a mound of rocks near the town and find it is the hide out for the notorious captain Blunderbolt, the local bushranger. There they watch his antics, and Tully, knowing that their father has gone off again in search of work, comes to the conclusion that the bushranger, an inept rider and thief, is their father. When the police set a trap for the robber, things escalate and Blunderbolt escapes, but not before Alberta works out who he really is.
A fun little story in this great range of books, Captain Blunderbolt will be enjoyed by the early chapter book readers, looking for a humourous tale to read. Lots of pictures reflect the action, adding to the overall picture of what it was like to live on the gold fields in the nineteenth century. Some words, as in the others in this fine series, are highlighted, adding variety and interest to the text. Short chapters ensure readers will follow what is happening, and the whole package is inviting. A list at the end of the book outlines the others in this series, which will be eagerly sought out in the school library and bookshop shelves.
Fran Knight

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