A trio of adventurous kids and two oddball adults find unexpected treasure in this middle-grade adventure by siblings Wilhelm (The Price of Denial, 2013) and Terrat (True Shoes, 2012).
Youngsters Luis, Speedup and Hayley B. have heard the story of the pirate Jean Lafitte, and how he may have left some buried treasure in their hometown of Sandy Feet, Florida. One day, they finally decide to go after the treasure themselves, with nothing more than Hayley B.’s “intuition” and her grandfather’s shovel to aid them. Cue the arrival of big, dumb Yuke Johnson, and his only slightly smarter friend, Bug Luck—two slapstick prospectors who hopped a train car expecting to arrive in Alaska rather than Florida. All Yuke knows is digging, so when Bug gets upset about being so far south, Yuke reacts by digging up the street all the way down to the water main, sending the police chief's car up in a geyser. Of course, the kids recruit these wacky strangers to help them in their own quest to find Lafitte’s treasure. Although they don’t discover Spanish doubloons under the Sandy Feet beach, they do accidentally discover another historical treasure, and the friendships they build are an even better payoff. The diversity of the main trio of friends is refreshing. However, there are some stereotypical elements that don’t make the best use of the cast; for example, Hayley B., the only girl, is the one with intuition, and the town’s police chief is a fun-hating doughnut eater. Yuke and Bug are ridiculous and unbelievable, but that’s part of their charm. This Kickstarter-funded chapter book is designed for readers who are just moving on from beginner books, but not yet ready for larger novels. As a result, the vocabulary and high-interest topic are sure to please readers in that niche. The notes on pirate history at the end of the book extend the fun beyond the story.
A boisterous, slapstick adventure that will entertain budding readers, despite its skimpy character development.