The sea air tasted saltier than the bottom of a bag of pretzels as the midday sun beat down on Carter. It was like a meal, finely seasoned. The sweet wind was his dessert. Everything seemed brighter and better now that he was officially captain. But, for some reason, he couldn’t stop staring as his reflection on the surface of the water and thinking about land. Or, if he was honest, the people on the land. And the people buried in that land.
“Course is set, Captain,” Brad said as he approached the bow where Carter sat. “Darla, Yvette and I found some old maps and stuff. Plus, this boat has a GPS. Eleuthera isn’t that far. Did you know that the Bahamas is only fifty miles from where we live? Paradise, so close to the dump we grew up in.
Carter is 12-years-old and Brad’s younger brother. The two have grown up in foster care after the death of their mother when the boys were very young. Carter has always dreamed of being a pirate. He is often in trouble, and Brad, who is the rule follower, must protect Carter and save him from trouble. Carter finds a treasure map in a museum which he returns to steal. The two brothers enlist the help of their friends in the foster home, including Darla, Brad’s girlfriend and daughter of the woman running the home.
On the run, they steal a boat and head off to Eleuthera, an island in the Bahamas where they believe the treasure has been hidden by pirates. On the way, the group must choose a captain. Even though he is young, Carter proves that he has a pirate spirit and is chosen by the others to be captain. Encountering another group of pirates, they use their imagination to escape. They are also being pursued by Darla’s mother and two cadets and a Major from the Valley Forge Military Academy who were taking Brad to school when they boys began their adventure. Linn, another orphan from the home, assisted in the escape and took Carter’s place in moving to the home of the Marshmallow heiress which works out very well.
The characters are believable with interesting dialogue and word choice. The language is very descriptive and adds to the enjoyment of the adventure. The vocabulary is very suitable for the intended audience. Dialogue is extensive and realistic. The fast-paced plot adds to the enjoyment of the story. There are 28 chapters of five to eight pages each. Each chapter ends at a high point which would make this an excellent read-aloud choice. Lackbeard is an excellent choice for readers who like adventure and realistic fiction.
Deborah Mervold is an educator from Shellbrook, Saskatchewan, with experience as a high school English teacher and teacher-librarian. Presently she is involved with post-secondary education as a faculty trainer and program development consultant at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.