Book Review- The Giant Rat of Sumatra or Pirates Galore by Sid Fleischman

The title of this book is what first caught my eye.  I have always wanted to know about the untold story of the giant rat of Sumatra that Sherlock Holmes never revealed to Dr. Watson.  Fleishman has done a good job of creating a story worthy of the title with plenty of excitement and strange twists and turns to surprise the reader.

Shipwreck is a cabin boy on a pirate ship but he is not destined to remain on board the ship for long.  Instead the pirates come ashore in 1846 San Diego at a time when the U.S. and Spain were at war.  Shipwreck yearns to return to Boston but first he must help the pirate captain and crew as they attempt to settle down on a ranch outside of San Diego.  The adventures in this story span the range from the high seas to the Wild West; throw in assorted cattle rustlers, highwaymen and the war over possession of California and you have lots of room for excitement.

This story is worth reading just for all the unusual bits of history that Fleishman tosses in along the way.  The story is fast paced with intriguing characters that will keep the reader engaged. Fleischman’s unique sense of humor is evident in this tale, if you found his other works amusing you will probably like this also.

Audience- Grades 4 on up to High School.

The Giant Rat of Sumatra or Pirates Galore by Sid Fleischman.  Greenwillow Books, NY,NY. 2005, 194pp.

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