Battle for Cannibal Island is a great adventure to take your kids. It's a good, fun, inspiring story for your kids. My kids loved reading about Beth and Patrick going back in time to meet pirates and James Calvert in Fiji.
This is the first book me and my kids have read in this series and we look forward to more books in it.
Battle for Cannibal Island is the 8th book in the Imagination Station series. If you are not familiar with Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey the Imagination Station is a contraption built by Mr. Whit that takes kids on adventures in different parts of time. They go on adventures in the Bible and different times in history. We love these books because they help get our 8 year old interested in history. It's a great alternative to the Magic Tree House books as it uses no magic and I know it is from a Christian perspective and safe to read.
The Battle for Cannibal Island is the story of missionary James Calvert. Patrick and Beth end up on a boat in the Queen's Navy in the 1850s. They end up as stowaways and Patrick ends up shipwrecked on Fiji or Cannibal Island. It is a story of Calvert's love for the Lord and putting others salvation above his own life. As in all Imagination Station books Patrick and Beth learn a valuable lesson about putting others needs above their own. It's a great read and we highly recommend it.
We've been reading the most recent 2 books in the Imagination Station series, Battle for Cannibal Island (yes, CANNIBAL Island, which is the story of an incredibly brave Christian missionary who cared more about seeing cannibals in Fiji saved than about his own life) and Escape to the Hiding Place which is the amazing story of Corrie Ten Boom. Receiving this last book in the mail was incredibly timely--the day before we'd just finished listening to the audio book "The Hiding Place" on the way back from a roadtrip. (By the way, if you've never read about Corrie Ten Boom, get your hands on the movie "The Hiding Place". It's an amazing, inspiring true story filled with miracles and God's grace.)
Each book in this series features two kids, Beth and Patrick, as the main characters who end up on historical adventures where they meet knights in shining armor, pilgrims, Egyptians, you name it. The books have mystery, real faith, and adventure. These books are are written at a 2nd grade reading level, but even I was captured with the stories! Definitely page turners--each one. And each one makes you want to research the true history deeper. My kids love history! And these books are part of the reason why.
As a homeschooling mom, I use these as part of my history curriculum. Yes, historical fiction may be a bit unorthodox, but it grabs my children's interest, real-life characters are featured in these books, and the authors stick as close to possible to real life events as can be expected with 2nd graders historical fiction. This is my favorite series for this age level and I couldn't recommend it more highly! Kind of like Magic Treehouse but MUCH better!
Serving and sacrificing for others. Spiritual warfare. The difference once person can make. These are the themes in the latest Imagination Station book, Battle for Cannibal Island.
Once again Wayne Thomas Batson and Marianne Hering's tell the tale of young cousins Beth and Patrick. This time, Patrick has a bad attitude about going to his grandmother's birthday party. Going means missing a ball game, which hardly seems fair to him. So, without permission, Patrick starts up the Imagination Station, looking for adventure. In trying to stop him, Beth ends up on board, too.
The machine takes them to a ship in the 19th century. At first, the cousins fear it's a pirate ship. After all, the men on board talk like pirates - and one even has a wooden leg. But they are actually on an English navy vessel anchored near Fiji. The trouble is, Fiji is a land of cannibals, and Toki, the leader of them all, isn't to be trusted.
But James Calvert, a missionary whose been teaching the Fijians about Christ, guides the cousins and the crew as they experience adventure after adventure. First, Toki brings a boat near the ship, and war is feared. Then a large storm comes and Patrick and a sailor fall into the sea. They drift to the island - but they aren't safe there; Toki is on the hunt for them. Beth sneaks into the rescue boat, but ends up falling into the ocean. Patrick confronts Toki about his lack of faith in Christ. Toki replies:
"I hate the teachings of [God]! Your God would be King and change our ways. He would make us weak with words like 'love your enemies.' I am king. I kill and eat my enemies."
Yet when Toki finally admits he isn't all powerful and Patrick reminds him the Christian God will forgive him, something in Toki changes.
Toki sees Beth struggling in the sea, and throws a spear her direction. Thinking Toki means harm, one of the sailors shoots the Fijian king. But it turns out Toki was killing a stingray threatening Beth. The English sailors set to healing Toki. The warriar opens his eyes briefly, and Calvert prays with him. Toki promises that if God lets him live, he will never kill Christians again. "Do ye repent?" Calvert asks. "I repent," Toki says.
The Imagination Station reappears and Beth and Patrick go back home. There, their mentor Mr. Whittacker tells them more about Calvert:
"Not many people cared about telling the cannibal tribes about Jesus. But Calbert and other missionaries gave their lives to do it. There were tens of thousands of Fijian Christians when Calvert left Fiji. And the cannibalism had stopped...Mr. Calvert kept reaching out to [Toki]. That's what Jesus call us to do."
Suddenly, sacrificing a ball game for his grandma's birthday party doesn't seem so awful to Patrick.
What I Like: As my 7 year old says, "This book is awesome!" Nearly every chapter is a cliff-hanger, the pace is quick, and the story is nothing if not adventurous. I appreciate that Beth and Patrick act like real kids who make mistakes. Both my daughter and I also enjoyed learning the interesting and important history outlined in the book; there are even several strong Christian themes woven in. Throughout, David Hohn's black and white illustrations (about a dozen of them), add interest.
What I Dislike: My only complaint is minor. At the back of the book there is a section offering facts about the real James Calvert. It ends by saying "For more info on James Calvert and Fiji, visit TheImaginationStation.com." But the website offers no such information. As I've noticed with other books in the series, the supplemental information provided on the website is inconsistent. Sometimes devotionals or other helpful material are offered and other times they are not - even if the book itself promises it.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Kristina Seleshanko, Christian Children's Book Review