Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Captain Jimmy Cook discovers Third Grade by Kate and Jol Temple illustrated by Jon Foye

This book is not the greatest of literature but it will certainly be very popular with readers from Years 2-6 who like a quick moving story with plenty of laughs.

James Cook (known as Jimmy) is absolutely certain the real Captain James Cook is his ancestor. It is History Week and Jimmy is delighted.  He plans to keep a log (not a diary) just like Captain Cook, wear a tricorn hat at all times and win first prize in the Wheat Blocks competition.  First prize is a trip to Hawaii.  Jimmy is convinced James Cook is still alive but mum says :

"Try telling that to the Hawaiians.'  So I googled it.  Turned out Mum was right (which happens a little too much for my liking." Hawaiians did kill Captain Cook!"

Jimmy eats tons and tons of Wheat Blocks.  He is desperate to get to Hawaii so he can get his ancestor's expedition back on track.

Meanwhile mum cooks some wild stuff for dinner none of which is actually food according to Jimmy - Kim Chee (fermented stuff), preserved lemons and Kale.  Jimmy thinks Kale is a visitor and even sets an extra place at the dinner table.

"It's not that mum can't cook; Mum's a really good cook and she makes at least three things I like very much : 1. Sausages  2. Chops  3. Meatballs. The problem is she doesn't stick to what works."

I did enjoy the way the members of this third grade class are named - Casper N, Alice Toolie, Conrad and Lucas.  It is such a funny thing in schools the way some children have to be known by the initial of their surname.

I think adults might laugh at puns like YouTooTube and mePad.  Captain Jimmy Cook Discovers Third Grade is a title on our CBCA Notable list for 2017.  You can read more details about the plot here.

Take a small boy with a big imagination, a teensy bit obsessive and totally self involved and hilarity ensues.

What works so well is that we see the world through the eyes of a very unreliable narrator. Jimmy’s preconceptions and misconceptions are hilarious.

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