Book Review: The Adventures of Pachelot: Last Voyage of the Griffon
Author: Wendy Caszatt-Allen
Reading level: Ages 7-12
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Mackinac Island Press, Inc.; 1st edition (June 1, 2007)
Imagine yourself with Renť Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, better known as simply LaSalle, the great French explorer of the 17th centure. Exploring and trading for furs with the native americans along the shores of Lake Michigan in 1679, you sail the Great Lakes, aboard his ship, The Griffon, then the largest vessel to sail the great lakes. Leaving Green Bay in the fall of 1679, laden with furs, and a short crew of six, the ship disappeared with all its crew and cargo.
Imagine you are a dog, and your name is Pachelot, and you are one of LaSalle’s most trusted companions. You, too, have a nose for adventure. And you are aboard the Griffon on its last voyage. You survive.
Imagine you can talk, and certain people can understand you. You are telling your story.
Pachelot, an Australian Shepherd, is the narrator of this fun and exciting story. You see, Pachelot has found that certain people can understand him when he talks. You are one of those people, if you read his story. You will meet many people, evil and good and make good friends.
The Adventures of Pachelot: Last Voyage of the Griffon is the first of a series. The wide open ending of this first volume is clearly designed to continue in the second installment. In fact, this first story really has no resolution at all, which is a serious fault in my mind, and saps some of the reading satisfaction that this book promises. Nevertheless, for early chapter book readers, I think it is a good choice for moving beyond easier books like the Nate the Great series, or the Cam Jansen series. It also is mature enough to appeal to older children, as well.
One aspect of this book that I really like is its sense of atmosphere and period. It really sparked my interest in reading more about this early period of our country’s history. Pachelot can be used to spark an interest in early American history or in Native American culture, as well.
Ending the book with no resolution is a trait this book shares with the books in the A Series of Unfortunate Events. It was acceptable with A Series of Unfortunate Events because of the promise of further bad experiences, until the end, when in The End, the Daniel Handler, the author of the series, seemed to cop out and just let the story’s ending drift out of sight with the Baudelaires.
Another trait borrowed from A Series of Unfortunate Events is Pachelot’s frequent elaborations about what he means by something he has just said. If you’ve read A Series of Unfortunate Events, you’ll remember that one of the most entertaining and charming features of the books was Lemony Snicket’s elaborations on the meaning of the words that he uses to relate his woeful tail. This trick works well for Pachelot, as well, and should prove a fun feature to young readers.
I’m looking forward to the next one in this series. It’s title The Adventures of Pachelot: Fort Brokenheart. I’ve only seen the cover The author, Wendy Caszatt-Allen, has co-authored the PaleoJoe series, and she shows more of her own stuff in this solo effort.