A cursed temple? Magical jewels? Hungry hippos? A bumbling captain? Adventure ahoy!
On a family vacation in Brazil, 12-year-old book connoisseur Mike Gonzalez does his best to protect his rambunctious 8-year-old sister, Dani, from the dangers of thrill-seeking. Enter Capt. Kevin Adventureson, an overconfident, pun-loving adventurer seeking fabled treasure deep in the Amazon. When the siblings inadvertently get swept up in Capt. Kevin’s antics, Mike longs to escape the captain’s orbit at every turn, while Dani can’t get enough of her newfound hero. A detour leads to clashes with villainous thieves, and soon enough the trio is joined by Aruna, a feisty former waitress with a secret. As the quartet pushes further into the Amazon, the makeshift heroes must narrowly overcome their adversaries, including ghastly caimans, dastardly rogues, and, of course, Capt. Kevin’s bungling whims. With backgrounds in child-oriented television franchises, Peterson and Pruett deliver a pulpy, screwball novel that emphasizes action, danger, and humor over authentic exploration of Brazil. Chapters vary between Mike’s and Dani’s points of view via third-person narration, providing emotional plateaus as necessary, and sporadic journal entries from Capt. Kevin—a sort of deconstructed Indiana Jones—add some levity at critical points. Ajhar’s dynamic illustrations introduce each chapter and appropriately set the tone for what follows: a journey spiked with absurdity. A racially diverse, seemingly mostly non-Brazilian cast is implied but not confirmed.
Fans of swashbuckling adventures will find much to enjoy. Just watch out for that inevitable sequel. (Adventure. 8-12)