A class of school kids on a field trip gets an infusion of piratical machinations in this latest book in a series, following Gargoyle Hall (2015).
Living in a boarding school is the best thing ever to have happened to Araminta Spookie. And when the class field trip turns out to be to creepy Skeleton Island, she has no difficulty filling her classmates in on the mysterious pirate ship that sank beneath the seas nearby. A run-in with two nefarious girls leaves Araminta and her best friend, Wanda, stranded on the island, where they have the particular misfortune to run into bat guano, ghost girls, and skeleton pirates with a sweet tooth for buried treasure. Araminta is not particularly nice to Wanda, but it’s intriguing to watch her use her brains to get the two of them out of sticky situations. Kelly’s black-and-white illustrations temper the tiny traces of scary material, leaving the book appropriate for younger ages, though they appear to depict an all-white cast. Skeleton pirates are nothing new, and Araminta offers the usual goth-girl-in-a-jam formula. Still, there are enough piratical high jinks to keep young readers on their toes.
Come for the ghost. Stay for the pirates. (Fantasy. 7-10)