Receiving help from a nearsighted mermaid and a self-propelling island with self-esteem issues, a young lad sets out to rescue his explorer parents.
Having spent all 10 years of his life climbing mountains and exploring trackless jungles with his parents, Oliver Crisp is well-equipped to chase after the Thurlstone, an evil floating island that has added his mom and dad to its elaborate crown of sea wrack. It’s one of the Rambling Isles, on its way to the Hallowed Shallows for the Night of the Seawigs, a celebration held every seven years to give the islands a chance to show off all the stuff they’ve collected. Fortunately, another peripatetic island, this one so mild-mannered it hasn’t got a name, befriends Oliver. Together with Iris the mermaid and a sniffy albatross, Oliver and the newly named Cliff set out to get Oliver’s parents back. Before the rescue can come off, though, Oliver must stand up to the smart-mouthed seaweed of the Sarcastic Sea, get past an army of green furred, hyperactive sea monkeys spilling “down the Thurlstone’s face like a river of snot,” and face like unusual challenges. McIntyre illustrates Reeve’s sly and dashing tale with simply drawn cartoon monkeys (lots of monkeys) and other figures peeking in from the margins or tucking themselves between passages of text.
Readers’ ribs aren’t the only ones that get a vigorous tickle in this aquatic escapade. (Fantasy. 8-10)