Sunday, July 24, 2016

Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

When an old sailor calling himself “Billy Bones” comes to lodge at the Admiral Benbow Inn, he pays the innkeeper’s son Jim Hawkins a few pennies to be particularly watchful of strangers.  After a visit from some mysterious men Billy dies suddenly, leaving Jim and his parents to open his sea chest and examine the contents.  They find some money, a journal and a map, which presumably leads to a cache of buried treasure.  With thoughts of gold doubloons, Mr. Hawkins’ friends start equipping a ship for the voyage…complete with Jim as the cabin boy, and a shady crew led by a one-legged cook named Long John Silver.

This book has everything:  mutiny on the high seas, bloodthirsty pirates and buried treasure.  It’s the ultimate work of escapist literature for boys, and it was pleasantly fulfilling to learn that the author spent his share of time on tropical isles.  For five years until his death in 1894, Robert Louis Stevenson lived with his family on the Pacific island of Samoa.  Mr. Stevenson was one of the best-selling authors of the 19th century, and it’s easy to see why as his writing still inspires adventurers today.  “Treasure Island” is a must-read for boys, and a must-re-read for young men of all ages.     

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Melvin Beederman, Superhero, by Greg Trine

Melvin Beederman is a brand-new superhero, fresh out of training.  His first assignment takes him to the city of Los Angeles, which hasn’t had a superhero since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired.   In a dry-cleaning mishap and epic wardrobe malfunction, Melvin’s powerful cape accidentally finds its way to a third-grade girl named Candace Brinkwater.  Even though Candace and Melvin end up sharing some of the same superpowers, they both still have one weakness… bologna.  Will the evil McNasty Boys be able to exploit this weakness and continue their crime spree?  You’ll just have to read the books to find out!

There are eight books in the Melvin Beederman series, and I’d bet that all of them are as funny as the first.  If you’re looking for a smart new superhero, then Melvin’s your man.  The hilarious illustrations by Rhode Montijo are the icing on the cake, and I’d recommend these books to any boy who’s ever been tempted to wear his underpants on the outside!