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The Race to Kangaroo Cliff: A School Ship Tobermory Adventure

Entertainment, adventure and people interacting with each other, are some of the wonderful hallmarks we have come to expect from this author. This series of young readers novels is no exception. This book is the third in the “A school ship Tobermory” series.

Ben and Fee are two of the crew on the sailing/school ship Tobermory, based in Scotland. They will have a year of learning regular school lessons as well as understanding how to sail a ship, and learn seamanship. The captain rosters all the children for duties, Matron doubles as a dive instructor, and Miss Worsfold, a teacher, also has sailing skills.

The children become involved in many adventures, most of which are thrilling, but rather improbable. While sailing in the Southern Ocean, the lookouts spot an iceberg with a single penguin stranded from its colony. The crew of children beg the captain to let them rescue it. He allows Miss Worsfold and four children to row a boat over the icy seas, and grab the penguin. They barely escape a leopard seal that makes an attempt to eat them and the penguin.

The captain later advises the crew that they will be sailing to Australia, staying in Sydney, then travelling north to Cairns, where they will take place in a sailing ship race. In Cairns, some of the “naughty boys” defy captain’s orders, and go for a swim to escape the heat. Luckily, no lives are lost but later when the crew go ashore, there is another narrow escape from two crocodiles.

As well as creating rollicking adventures, the author has a strong moral thread running through the story. As the captain says, “Do the right thing”. The information about geographical features such as, the Great Barrier Reef, and details about the country and surrounds are interesting for children.

Hopefully there will be more books in this series.

AuthorAlexander McCall Smith, illustrated by Ian McIntosh
PublisherBC Books
DistributorNew South Books
ReleasedFebruary 2018