I didn’t read this book from cover-to-cover, nor do I expect anyone to run out and buy this exact copy, so for those reasons this isn’t exactly a book review. I picked up this story collection at a thrift store but my dad later pointed out to me that we had the same book at home when I was a kid. I assume it’s actually from his childhood, rather than mine. And not just because he was the one alive in the 1960s.
Speaking of the 1960s…I suppose it was more appropriate then to label a book as being for boys, though I have seen recent children’s books gendered in a similar way. Personally, I’m not sure what about these stories makes them for boys, except the old stereotype of swashbuckling adventures being something girls aren’t interested in. I do bristle against this stereotype and as a mom of two girls now, I fully intend to introduce them to all kinds of stories. In fact, spotting the cover of this book on my nightstand, Pearl eagerly grabbed hold of it, gleefully proclaiming, “Boat! I want to look at this!”
As for the stories themselves, they turned out to be a mixed bag. There are a few sections taken from novels, such as The Count of Monte Cristo, Moby Dick, and Kidnapped. Having read the novels before, I skimmed over those parts, though they might serve as a good introduction to a young reader. The standalone stories were fairly hit or miss – there are a couple of fascinating ones from Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe. The non-fiction tales of ships interested me less, being either straightforward accounts of ships (where they were built, who sailed them, etc) or borderline racist descriptions of World War Two battles in the Pacific.
There are other ways you can read the novels and stories featured here so I can’t think of a reason to seek out this collection. Maybe if you are trying to gather sexist book titles of the 20th century?
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