Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Summary: Narrator Jacob is the runt of his litter, born to seafaring wonder cat Mrs. Tibbs, a champion ratter who also can predict when a storm is coming. All his brothers and sisters find homes on other ships, but Jacob stays behind with his mother. He’s devoted to Captain Natick, but not so fond of Archer, the new first mate, who’s the son of the shipping company’s owner and doesn’t have a clue about sailing. On the first day out, Archer persuades the captain to ignore Mrs. Tibbs’ warning of bad weather. Disaster follows, setting in motion a chain of events that eventually results in accusations of mutiny, and several sailors, including Jacob, being cast adrift. It’s one adventure after another in this tale of life on the high seas in a nineteenth-century sailing vessel. 272 pages; ages 8-12.
Pros: From storms to mutiny to shipwreck, the action never stops. Jacob is an endearing narrator. This would make an engaging classroom read-aloud.
Cons: Beloved characters die.