By Jonny Duddle
Templar Books, 2016. Intermediate. 137 p.
Matilda lives in a seaboard town named Dull-on-Sea. But lately, it's been anything but dull. Every time there's a full moon, a spooky pirate ship comes to port, and the town's treasures are stolen during the night. Matilda sends a message in a bottle to her best (pirate) friend, Jim Lad, and he and his family sail into town to help solve the ghostly mystery. This is a great transitional book for lads who love scurvy pirates and swashbuckling adventure!
Intermediates can tend toward the formulaic, but Dudley has hit on something here. Having a male/female protagonist duo provides expanded kid appeal (think Jack and Annie from Magic Treehouse), and the illustrations are fantastic. There's also some solid vocabulary--not too hard, but difficult enough to keep it interesting. Even better, books two and three are already on the shelves!