John Tabor's Ride got a mixed reaction from its readers (my niece, nephew, and me) tonight. My nephew liked this one a lot--there was lots of action and adventure on the high seas, it had a salty sea dog at the head of the story, it had King Neptune... This is a classic boy's adventure story. My four-year old nephew gave this one "45 stars."
My niece wasn't terribly impressed with this John Tabor's Ride, though. She thought it was "kind of weird," and decided that this was a two star book. It just didn't seem to be her cup of tea.
I really liked the illustrations in this edition of the book, and I was pleased with the ending, because given the time this was written (1966), that ending could have been a lot more violent and lacking in compassion than it was. But the story seemed rather repetitive to me--lots of "land ho-ing" going on, and lots of "hold tight, John Tabor." And while there was adventure, those adventures really never went very deep, and never really had much substance to them. There was never any real explanation as to who this salty sea dog man was--I finally had to tell my niece that I thought he was just sort of a fairy godfather of the sea kind of guy. There was also violence done to whales in this story, so it's a story that may sit a little uncomfortably alongside today's sensibilities. I do love sea stories, though, so I can't honestly say that I didn't like this book, because something in me really kind of did. What I can
honestly say is, this one isn't for everyone.