Book review: School Ship Tobermory, by Alexander McCall Smith

Smith, Alexander McCall. School Ship Tobermory. Ill. Iain McIntosh. Delacorte, 2016. $15.99. 224p. ISBN 978-0-399-55261-8. Ages 7-11. P7Q6

mccall-smith-tobermoryBullying, friendship, and adventure face 12-year-old fraternal twins, Fee and Ben MacTavish, when they move from their marine-scientist parents’ submarine to a boarding school on the sailing ship, Tobermory, off the Scottish coast. With her new friend Poppy, Fee helps a stowaway girl, and Ben explores the mystery of why a crew on a neighboring ship, the Albatross, is being faked. They join other friends to foil a dastardly plot to steal sea creatures in an ending that will likely lead to a sequel. Some of the plotting is far-fetched, and the writing is fairly simplistic with detailed explanations of nautical terms that may not be new to the readers. Despite the sometimes didactic approach, the book, however, is a cheerful, comfortable read, suitable for read-alouds and reluctant readers. The black and white cartoon illustrations add a bit of humor to the narrative.

Fall 2016 review by Nel Ward.

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