Rotstein, Adira. Little Jane Silver. Toronto: Dundurn, 2011. ISBN 978-1554888788. $12.99 U.S./ $8.99 CAN. Ages 10-13.
Little Jane Silver is the daughter of infamous pirate Captains, Long John Silver II and Bonnie Mary Bright, and she lives on a pirate ship called the Pieces of Eight. Little Jane, as she’s affectionately called by her parents, lives a child’s dream: she sails the open seas with her pirate parents and explores the Caribbean meeting all sorts of dynamic characters. There’s only one tiny problem, Little Jane insists on being part of a “boarding party” now that she’s twelve years old and her parents won’t take her seriously. Instead, she’s confined to banal pirate chores: swabbing decks and tying down cannon afts. Little Jane devises a plan only to be launched into a bigger kettle of fish as she makes arch enemies with Ned Ronk, the boatswain of the ship. One thing leads to another and before she’s completed her sword lessons with the weapons master Jezebel Mendoza, Little Jane finds herself in the midst of a traitorous battle where she must fight to save her parents, the crew, and a buried treasure. Little Jane may only be twelve, but she’s about to be taken a lot more seriously; she’s become the Pieces of Eight’s best hope for survival!
Little Jane Silver is chock-full of pirate history, jests, adventures, and all things pirate for a thrilling ride on the Caribbean seas. I highly recommend for any child who can’t get enough of pirates and craves a true pirate education. Ms. Rotstein includes deftly researched chapters that expound upon British and French colonization of the islands, the slave trade, and reminders of why many a British Captain turned treasonous to pursue a life of piracy.
If you like this book, I also recommend the sequel: LittleJane and the Nameless Isle. Middle Grade Readers may also enjoy: Geoff Rodkey’s Deadweather and Sunrise: The Chronicles of Egg, Book 1. For Teen Readers: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
Shelley A. McRoberts