All bookseller links are provided so you can get more information about a book. We have affiliate relationships with Barefoot Books,, and Tapestry Books. All revenue generated from sales through these venues is used strictly to cover website costs and minimize donation requests and fundraising campaigns.

"...My greatest of all amusements, reading." More

      Printer Friendly

Click cover to buy:


Author: Elizabeth Singer Hunt

Illustrator: Brian Williamson

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Weinstein Books,

Material: paperback

Summary: While checking on the wreck of the HMS Pandora, Alfie, a diver, goes missing. Only the Global Protection Force can help, and Jack is dispatched from London to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Within minutes of his arrival, Jack determines finds the kidnappers and Alfie. That was easy! But bringing Alfie home alive and recovering the treasure...not so much. He must get past a Komodo dragon, deadly jellyfish, some sharks, and pirates. This adventure series offers remedial and reluctant readers a chance to discover why reading is fun.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, family reading, read aloud book, short chapter, illustrated chapter, reluctant reader, transitional reader

Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 12; read yourself: 7 to 12

Interest Level: 6 to 12

Age of Child: Read with 6-year-old girl. Read by 8-year-old boy.

Young Reader Reaction: We shared this book in chapters, over the course of a week. Our daughter enjoyed the story, and was ready each morning to find out what happened next. The eight-year-old loved the multiple climaxes and high points when you’re not sure whether Jack will escape.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a fun (if somewhat predictable) read. Since our child was listening, we were able to moderate the reading to bypass/tone down some of the violence. The author has created a wonderful model for introducing factual and historical information in a way that will not only keep kids reading, but could motivate them to learn more. Second reader: I liked the way this book mimicked action TV shows with multiple narrow escapes by Jack, the main character. Right up to the end, you wondered as a reader if he was going to be successful.

Pros: There are plenty of predicaments and gadgets to keep readers turning pages in this adventure series. Parents will like that the stories have information sheets in the front and additional facts built into the plot. The fact that this book is the provides the first chapter of the next book is a plus for the series.

Cons: You know your child best. This is a fun adventure, but there are violent scenes (both text and visually). Our child happens to "internalize" stories she hears, so we tried to read ahead before we shared the story with her. Second reader: The 11 pages that "set up" the story could be condensed or eliminated. It might even be better if they were included at the end with a reference at the beginning. That way, young readers can avoid the “prep” reading before actually reading the story.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is one of those rare books that may not stay with your library forever, but could be read again, then shared with friends. I’d recommend this for classroom libraries or the public library although I’m not sure I would buy it for my own library.


Educational Themes: Although this is principally a fantasy adventure, the book offers information and leads for further discovery on these topics: spies and spying; pirates; Asian clans/gangs; Australia; sea animals (sharks); rare animals (Komodo dragon); Great Barrier Reef; wreck of the HMS Pandora; and diving. This book could be used in conjunction with social studies when studying Australia, shipwrecks or pirates. A Komodo dragon plays a role as well which might be interesting tap into reptiles (science) for young readers. Excerpts could also be used in writing instruction, modeling the use of dialogue, what introductions and conclusions look like and in vocabulary instruction (the author uses good word choice in her writing), especially in the descriptive parts.

Notes: These illustrated chapter books are also available in Spanish.

Literary Categories: Fiction - adventure, fantasy, series

Date(s) Reviewed: December 2007

Other Reviews: See reader feedback at (Barnes & Noble). No Critics' Reviews found at or We’re interested in your review. Please enter your Name (and blog in Parenthesis), then copy/paste your post link in the URL field. With a link exchange, we both benefit because interested readers can visit you too!


Copyright © 2003 - 2017. The Reading Tub, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The Reading Tub and Turning a Page ... Opening the World are registered trademarks of The Reading Tub Inc.
No use of these trademarks is permitted without written approval of The Reading Tub, Inc.
Privacy Policy.     Site developed by Sites2BeSeen.