Captain Jimmy Cook Discovers Third Grade
Kate and Jol Temple
Allen & Unwin, 2016
160pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99
It all starts in History Week when Jimmy Cook discovers three things…
- Captain Cook was the greatest explorer that ever lived.
- Captain Cook is his great grandfather 32 times removed
- Third grade is going to be the best year of his life.
He also discovers that he and said Captain Cook have three things in common…
- They share the same name
- They are both great explorers
- They both look good in a tricorn hat.
Discovering these things is almost as good as the escape of the class’s pet ambystona mexicanum (axolotl) and helps the younger James Cook discover there is more to history than that discovered so far on yawn.com. His interest wanes fractionally when Ms Fennel insists that each student keeps a diary of Cook. Jimmy is having none of this “sitting down with a fluffy purple pen and drawing rainbows that smile and flowers with tears.” Diaries are definitely girl things and Captain James Cook would never have done that as he bravely explored the high seas, but he changes his mind when Ms Fennel points out that a ‘boy diary’ is called a log, and Captain James most definitely kept one of those.
So for the next six weeks Jimmy Cook keeps a log, starting with a note of the weather and an inventory of his pockets, as all logs do. He shares his excitement at having to dress as Captain Cook and his bitter disappointment when he discovers that the local museum does not have HM Bark Endeavour but just an old nail. But it his discovery that Cook died a violent death in Hawaii, a land surely still inhabited by savages who need to be tamed that provide the impetus for him to get to Hawaii himself, and the discovery that a cereal company is offering an all-expenses paid trip there to the person who collects the most coupons could be his means to get there.
This is a rollicking, fast-moving story full of typical Year 3 thoughts and humour that will carry the reader along, eager to discover whether Jimmy beats his rival Alice Toolie in the coupon collection stakes and whether he does make it to Hawaii to tame the savage beasts who killed his hero and great grandfather (32x removed). With the diary entries keeping chapters short and interspersed with graphics that could have been drawn by Jimmy himself, it has broad appeal for younger readers who will see themselves in the story somewhere. It has its serious moments, particularly when Jimmy does work experience as a Town Crier helping Bernie the homeless man sell The Big Deal, but all in all, it’s an engaging read that will inspire our younger boys to keep reading.
They can discover more on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZkrpS5olcA and look forward to Captain Jimmy Cook Discovers X Marks the Spot.