Nelly and the Quest for Captain Peabody by Roland Chambers and Ella Okstad

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Nelly and the Quest for Captain Peabody by Roland Chambers and Ella Okstad

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Julia Jones
Reviewed by Julia Jones
Summary: Imaginative, lively and original, attractively presented
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 176 Date: October 2015
Publisher: Oxford University Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780192742698

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Nelly's father, Captain Peabody, sailed away when she was a baby. He remembered her birthday once or twice sending her a gift of painted snails and an egg which hatched into a visionary turtle. This turtle, Columbus, has grown to become Nelly's closest friend and companion as her mother sits silently knitting and nothing more has been heard from her father. There may be a lesson about parental inadequacy and unreliability here but if so it's understated. I have rarely met a less angst-ridden heroine than Nelly though she can give a firm lecture about keeping one's promises.

Nelly is lively, resourceful and imaginative. Once she has made up her mind to a course of action nothing gets in her way. Her father left behind a small ship, the Nelly, which has become riddled with woodworm and looks as dilapidated as a pile of sticks as she floats at the end of the pier. The Nelly's sails have rotted years ago but Nelly is undeterred. She knits a new set, in the dead of night and embarks on a quest to find her father.

Nelly's adventures are surprising, even zany but the plot remains neat and satisfying. The main joy of this book is the quality of the writing. Every page has its pleasures. Nelly survives storms, sees whales and giant squid and battles pirates but the worst days are those when nothing happens when the sails hung limp as old cardigans and there was nothing to do but think. Ella Okstad's illustrations will add to the pleasure of the finished work and I shall certainly be giving it to my eight-year old grand-daughter. As a great example of intrepidity and a reminder to parents never to underestimate their offspring.

The spirit of Arthur Ransome is not far from this book despite its fantastical nature and its pace. That's not surprising as Chambers has written a biography of Ransome in Russia. Older aspirant girl pirates might enjoy Sara Starbuck's Dread Pirate Fleur trilogy whereas parents who want their children to have a rather more accurate, non-fictional idea of the sea, should give them Claudia Myatt's Go Green!.

Buy Nelly and the Quest for Captain Peabody by Roland Chambers and Ella Okstad at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Nelly and the Quest for Captain Peabody by Roland Chambers and Ella Okstad at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Nelly and the Quest for Captain Peabody by Roland Chambers and Ella Okstad at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Nelly and the Quest for Captain Peabody by Roland Chambers and Ella Okstad at Amazon.com.


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