4 out of 4 stars
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While traveling on the open ocean with her father and brother, young Annabelle is suddenly tossed into a mysterious world of ominous creatures where time seems to stand still. Here, the children teach her the rules of the island and warn her about the elusive Jade Army and Simora, who rules the island through intimidation and fear. The children spend their days eluding the island’s evil entities and working on an elaborate plan to one day escape the island, rescue the lost ones, and return home. Annabelle faces a dilemma; if she follows the rules, the chances of seeing her family again are minimal, and if she challenges the evil forces, she risks the safety of all the children on the island.
The Good Ship, by Jeremy M. Wright, is written for young adults. The first thing that came to mind when reading this novel is that it reminded me of other stories written by authors like C.S. Lewis, William Golding, and Michael Ende, where characters are transported into other worlds, encounter danger, and fight evil. What makes this story different from others are the sensory descriptions of the setting and the detailed introspect of the protagonist. These descriptions are told from the perspective of a young teenager, and the descriptions realistically reflect what a person that age would notice, such as the “mystical fortress of huts” high above the ground and the “hypnotic dances of light” on the water. The thoughts and feelings of the protagonist are also depicted in a way that I believe a child that age would express.
The energy of the plot did not wane from the beginning to the end, and I read through each chapter anxious to find out what would happen next. A pleasing balance of characterization and action with more than a sprinkling of twists and turns, this story would be a good model text for students in elementary or middle school. Many elements of good writing are displayed throughout the book, making it an excellent reference for students to learn about literary devices such as imagery, tone, and mood.
I happily give The Good Ship 4 out of 4 stars because of the writing techniques described above. The book is exceptionally well edited, with only a couple of very minor errors. There was nothing about the book that I disliked, and I can easily see this used as required reading in a middle school English class, a read aloud for elementary students, and perhaps even as a movie. As discussed above, young students need a myriad of examples of good literature as they begin to develop their unique preferences in reading and explore various themes and writing styles.
I recommend this book to all readers. Although the book would be most enjoyed by younger readers, I believe it will be thoroughly enjoyed by people of all ages. If you are looking for light reading that has a touch of fantasy, a little humor, and a lot of action, this book is for you. If you are looking for a realistic, in-depth book that explores survival techniques, you may be disappointed in the child-like perspective and limited depth of the plot that characterizes stories meant for younger audiences. For all others, this is a wonderful escape into a book that challenges the imagination and evokes feelings of wonder.
The Good Ship
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