Publisher's Note:  

When Daniel Collins and the crew of the Betsey set sail for Cuba in 1824, they have no idea of the horrors that lie ahead. This is just one of the stories in a collection of five true tales about pirates and shipwrecks that introduces readers to the perils of the high seas.

Pirates and Shipwrecks: True Stories is the first book in the Mystery & Mayhem series for 9–12 year olds, which features true tales that whet kids’ appetites for history by engaging them in genres with proven track records—mystery and adventure. History is made of near misses, unexplained disappearances, unsolved mysteries, and bizarre events that are almost too weird to be true—almost! The Mystery & Mayhem series delves into the past to provide kids with a jumping-off point into a lifelong habit of appreciating history.

Each of the true tales in Pirates and Shipwrecks, including stories about pirate Barbarossa and adventurer John Franklin, is paired with interesting facts about the setting, industry, and time period. A glossary and index provide the opportunity to use essential academic tools. These nonfiction narratives use clear, concise language with compelling plots, drawing in both avid and reluctant reader.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Nomad Press

Mystery & Mayhem: Pirates and Shipwrecks

by Tom McCarthy

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Overall Review:  

Mystery and Mayhem: Pirates and Shipwrecks by Tom McCarthy tells the story of five different events on the high seas. Three are stories of pirates, one of which is about a woman pirate, and two are about shipwrecks. Each story is exciting and full of suspense and drama, pulling the reader into the story to find out if they survive or not. McCarthy does a good job simplifying the stories, yet keeping them exciting. They are only brief accounts or overviews, with all five stories only taking up 118 pages. Each story starts with a map and a brief timeline, which is quite useful since the stories take place all over the world and in different time periods. At the end of each story is a list of other things that happened at that time, with one exception being the story about the woman pirate. That story ends with a list of other woman who disguised themselves as men to break into a man's world.

Mystery and Mayhem: Pirates and Shipwrecks (and the series as a whole) is a quick and exciting read that is a fabulous way to entice any reader with the thirst for adventure, daring and bravery.

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  None 

Violence/Gore:  Note:  These 5 stories are intense and action packed, with several being about pirates, who are not known for their humane treatment of people and that is why the rating is so high in this category, but the events are not glorified or told with the intent of showing excitement about blood and gore, but rather in a news report kind of way.

Mention of becoming dinner for the natives; person finds a pile of bones that were obviously human; person makes threatening gesture with knife; account of pirates beating someone up; mention of person getting hit so hard they are knocked down and stunned; paragraph-long description of person being beheaded at the hands of pirates; mention of someone getting beheaded and run through with a sword; mention of person having recurring nightmare of the beheadings he witnessed; secondhand account of evidence having been found that lost crew resorted to cannibalism; person finds human skeleton (2 accounts); mention that people complained on a ship would be flogged/whipped; person described at being good with the sword because of their ability to slice off limbs and run people through; mention of 2 pirates who liked to make a good impression by using sharp swords on people's heads; mention of pirate who would strangle and throw women overboard because he didn't want them on his ship; mention of pirate who would silence people by stabbing them in the heart; mention how the punishment for pirates was hanging; mention how pirate killed someone by stabbing him; mention of pirate shooting one of the crew because they were drunk; rumor told how natives captures people and cooked them; mention of man being whipped as a form of punishment; report of man coming back to camp alive, but with 3 spears in his back; account of how slaves were chained to their seats and forced to row; pirate forces men from a ship he captured to take the place of slaves and chains them to their seats; account of pirate burning ships he attacks; account of pirate being captured, tied up and beaten; mention of battle for a ship that includes a sword fight; mention of pirate slitting a man's throat; pirate gets hit by a cannonball, knocking him off of his feet and allowing the enemy to kill him with a sword. 

Sex/Nudity:  Not tallied, but implied unwed pregnancies mentioned (the 2 woman pirates could not be hanged because they were pregnant).

Mature Subject Matter:  

Death, cannibalism, piracy.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Group of pirates drink something that makes them drunk; mention of pirates drinking rum and getting drunk.

Reviewed By Sally
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