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Fish Hardcover – June 1, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–"Fish" Reidy leaves his impoverished family farm in Ireland to be a messenger for his uncle in the city. When someone steals one of his deliveries, he swims after the thief's ship. He finds himself aboard the Scurvy Mistress, along with its determined treasure seeker Captain Cobb, the captain's wife, and a motley crew consisting of One-eyed Willies, British ex-Royal Navy men, and mutinous scalawags. The crew remains loyal to Cobb only as long as their stomachs and coffers stay full, and his idealistic decision to search for the legendary golden chain of Chuacar pushes the greedy first mate to stage an island mutiny. Fish draws on the skills he picked up from the crew members to rescue Cobb and those loyal to the captain. His boisterous and pungent shipboard adventures will sit well alongside favorites like Heather Vogel Frederick's The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed (S & S, 2002) and Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Scholastic, 1990). The sights and smells of life on the high seas, complete with descriptions of bathroom facilities, will give children new insight into this risky career path. Mone seamlessly integrates factual information into his tale of friendship, loyalty, and exploration. As Fish travels from farm to city to ship, he discovers his place in the world, and his moral compass helps to ground and direct the story. His decision not to engage in fighting and his efforts to stop the mutiny will provide points for group discussion. Fish makes a splashing good addition to adventure fiction.Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

For his first book for children, Mone digs from that most reliable of wells—the pirate adventure. Maurice, nicknamed Fish, is more at home in the water than on the fields of his Irish family’s farm, and after a few zigs and zags, he ends up as a swab-boy aboard the Scurvy Mistress. He learns that pirates break down into two camps: those who quest after legendary booty, like the noble Captain Cobb, and those, like first-mate Scab, who are only interested in bloody raids of every passing ship. Fish’s cleverness, courage, and underwater prowess get put to the test in a series of treasure mappings, sea battles, and traitorous mutinies. The humorous and slightly postmodern tint of the story is evident in the subspecies of grizzled rascals packed onto the ship, like the Scalawags of Sausage (cured-meat enthusiasts). Is it possible to have too many solid pirate yarns? Although this one doesn’t map out much new territory, it’s a good one to crowd onboard. Grades 3-5. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545116325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545116329
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #776,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the first chapter books my kids have allowed me to read all the way through at bed time. They are 12 and most of the time don't want me to read a chapter book except for Captain Underpants (Which gets really old really fast). I picked this up on a whim at the library because it looked interresting on the shelf. It got to the point shortly into the book that my kids would get mad at me if I didnt read it one night. There is plenty of adventure and action in the story to entertain kids and adults alike and it keeps you wondering what will happen next and how everything will turn out in the end. You feel really invested in the characters and how they react to all the situations they get themselves into and what happens to them. The action starts almost from the very beginning of the book and is non stop until the end of the story. I had to go out and buy a copy for us to have on our bookshelf to read over and over because the library book had to be returned. I also sent a copy to my nieces and nephews so they could enjoy the story as much as we did. We had guests over the holidays (adults) who also said they really enjoyed the story as I was reading. I would highly recomment this book to anyone, kid or adult alike. A definite must read for every family.
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Format: Hardcover
Did you know there are both good and bad pirates? In Fish by Gregory Mone, when Fish (whose real name is Maurice) is forced to join the crew of The Scurvy Mistress, he doesn't know one kind of pirate from the other.

He also doesn't care. His sole mission is to retrieve the bag of gold coins which Nate had stolen from him. When the head pirate Cobb decides that his crew will sail their ship to lay in wait for a freighter bound for America, Fish launches his own "raid". He finds the gold coins that his uncle had entrusted him with and attempts to deliver them to their rightful owner. Unfortunately, Fish gets caught. In the interrogation that follows, Fish learns that some pirates are raiders while others are seekers. The "raiding" pirates believe that attacking every ship in the water is the swiftest way to fortune. (These are the bad pirates.) In contrast, "seeking" pirates prefer to undertake challenging quests. The Scurvy Mistress is manned by both types, a division which eventually leads to a mutiny.

Before Fish learns whose side everyone is on, or even figures out for himself which side he should take, he spends hours swabbing the decks of The Scurvy Mistress clean. Fish also fills his stomach with dreadful gruel and hardtack. And he sleeps on ragged bits of old sailcloth in one corner of the main cabin. If that doesn't sound too grand, why would Fish agree to stay? Well, earlier in the story, the family horse dies, and Mr. Reidy declares that one of their children will have to work in the city and send home money to help out. Unlike his eight other siblings, Fish is inept at farm work. For that reason, Fish is taken into town to work for an uncle. Fish is actually on the way to deliver a bag of coins that his uncle entrusted him with, when Nate robs him.
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Format: Hardcover
I am writing on behalf of my 10-year-old daughter, who demanded that I acquire this book for her. She devoured this book over the course of a weekend. When I asked her why she enjoyed it, she mentioned that there was a never a boring stretch. There were always some interesting things going on. There was just enough historical consistency regarding pirate lore, pirate self-governance, pirate rules, etc., that when something was written that was probably not really historical, like Gustavo winning the creeping event in the world pirate skills competition, it wasn't really a problem.

Furthermore, both children and parents will appreciate the "not-fighting" skills that Fish, the main character, developed out of necessity. Any child who has older, belligerent siblings, will identify with the main character. While the professional reviews, mentioned anything between 3rd grade and 8th grade, I say that 5th grade, or going into 5th grade, is the sweet spot for this book.
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Format: Hardcover
After the family horse dies, Fish, aptly named for his natural swimming ability, is sent from his family's farm to the city to earn money as a delivery boy. But after some mysterious coins that Fish was tasked with delivering get stolen, he inadvertently joins the crew of the Scurvy Mistress. Reluctant at first, Fish soon finds himself more at home on the sea than on dry land. He befriends his fellow pirates and naturally makes a few enemies just by being there. Now Fish must help the pirate captain unravel the clues leading to Chain of Chuacar, a valuable treasure not seen in many years, and prevent the mutiny being led by the first mate.

I typically don't think that young adult fiction and pirates are two things that go together considering that pirates aren't the most ideal role models for kids. However, this book does a good job of trying to stay faithful to pirate mythology while not encouraging the less favorable aspects of it. For example, after Fish is forced in to a fight, he opts to take a pacifistic approach in combat. His friend Daniel begins to teach him "non fighting" skills that reads as a form of mixed martial arts of some sort that is unnamed in the book. Speaking of naming things, there were a couple of small references in the book that annoyed me. Nora, the ship's cook, apparently invented the sandwich and the pirate named Jumping Jack invented a form of aerobics that he quickly named after himself. These aren't big deals but they broke the flow of the story. Kids who read this book and are less fact snobbish then myself probably wont care and may even find it amusing.

In the end this is a fun read for kids/young adults who are fascinated by pirates. The chapters are the perfect length and full of action and adventure. This is not a boring book.
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