Skip to main content

The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman, illustrated by Fred Fordham, 160pp, RL 4


The Adventures of John Blake is Philip Pullman's first foray into graphic novels and it is fantastic! It reads like a James Bond movie - fast paced, filled with action, intrigue, espionage, technology and, in this case, a time traveling ghost ship. Fred Fordham's illustrations are spare and filled with energy, adding to the cinematic feel.



Australian teenager Serena Anderson and her family are caught in a storm. When she wakes up, she is on board the Mary Alice, a ghost ship that travels in and out of time with a crew of sailors from across the centuries - there is even Marcus Tullus Pallas, an engineer from Ancient Rome! There, she meets John Blake, a teenager from a different time who came aboard the Mary Alice when a science experiment his father was conducting at sea when wrong. Tracking the course of the Mary Alice is Danielle Quayle Reid, a Harvard Law graduate, and Roger Blake, a commander in the Royal Navy. One other person is also searching for the Mary Alice - Carlos Dahlberg, a Steve Jobs type technology mogul who creates the Apparator, a smartphone (but better) like device that is used by people across the globe. Everyone has a reason to be seeking this ghost ship, some more dangerous than others. Trying to return Serena to her own time and family, John and the crew of the Mary Alice take some risks and make some enemies, but the mystery of the strange, floating golden device. . . The mix of science, science fiction, history and adventure in this book is one that readers won't forget!


Hopefully you know who Philip Pullman is and maybe you have even read some of his marvelous novels. The Adventures of John Blake was first serialized in the weekly comic book for kids, The Phoenix, started by British publisher of kid's books, David Fickling Books. The Adventures of John Blake has to be a series because this first volume ended with a real cliffhanger!

Source: Purchased

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…