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Mutiny at Crossbones Bay

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Too hard for a five-year-old! We took Mutiny at Crossbones Bay (and a couple more from this series) out of the library, thinking it would be like Lucy and the Sea Monster, but, alas for now, it is a series for the next age range up…perhaps for eight-year olds. The text is for a confident reader, and the puzzles are time-consuming and tricky for a child who’s not come across the idea of code-cracking before. In one puzzle, a shape must be traced accurately and cut out exactly to fit over parts of the picture to reveal a secret message. Another requires knowledge of a compass and mapreading. Others call for careful transcription of the alphabet to crack the code. Mazes have gone up a couple of notches in difficulty, occasionally requiring some arithmetic. The story is pretty exciting, too, and with Swashbuckle being all the kids want to watch on TV at the moment, we were content with the piratical theme.

This series (Usborne Puzzle Adventures) is a treat for future years. I hear tell of a box set of these too.