When I was young we had a special fort hidden inside of the woods near my Father’s house. It was hidden so cleverly that it would take a trained eye to see it and it just so happened to be next to a military schools training facility. We were a rag tag bunch of kids and I was the only girl of the group. We’d meet up every morning at 9am at the basket-ball court and weave our way to the fort to plan our adventures for the day. Often these had to do with messing with the military kids (we often were chased off the facility) or other kids in the park. These summers were the best summers of my life and while reading Saltwater Taffy I couldn’t help but smile in remembrance of them as it is a story, much like my memory, of a group of kids and packed full of excitement, pirates and treasure. It’s a story close to all of our hearts about what it means to grow up.
Set in the seaside town of Port Townsend, Washington, Saltwater Taffy follows the lives of five friends as they uncover a treasure map that once belonged to the ruthless New Orleans pirate, Jean Lafitte. The discovery thrusts them from one treasure hunting adventure to the next as they try to out-wit, out-think and out-maneuver everyone from a one-legged junk yard man and an overbearing town bully, to the creepy old man living at the top of the hill. Saltwater Taffy is a race to the finish adventure that will capture your heart, again and again!
Saltwater Taffy is a young adult book, but one that grabs hold of you from the very first moment and doesn’t let go of you until the end. At times I found myself on edge, as frightened as the boys during their moments of fear and overwhelmed with sadness during their difficult lessons of growing up. On one hand I thought of my own story and on the other my son, who is much the same age as the boys in the book and just beginning his journey through those difficult stages. He must have felt his own kinship to the characters because from the moment I handed the book over to him he was absorbed, begging to take it to school and then he was showing his teachers and offering out promotional materials. He hung onto it as a child with their blanket for as long as he could keep the story going and when it was over he slumped on the couch and begged me to find out if there would be a continuance. With so many electronics and the only adventures boys have these days being on a multi-player video game, this story showed him there were so many adventures to be had right outside. We sat together and talked about some of the lessons in the book, at the end of each chapter there are Treasure Tips which teach the younger kids lessons. This book meant something to him and that meant something to me.
To go into anymore detail of this book would be to take you away from the adventure of these children that speaks to me like a new Goonies. It has the more mature elements as Stand by Me, though with more of a bite and the moments of terror are felt to the bone. And somehow Mr. Delebarre wraps all these beautiful feelings into a warm embrace in a lesson of Love and makes you laugh with pure joy. If you pick up any book this summer, choose this one. Look not to the cover, but to your own inner child or the children of your own and remember for a moment a day in your own life that seemed to stretch out to eternity, a day that made you realize who you wanted to be… and grab this book! Give your children the sense of adventure! Then check out the 500 Word National Essay Contest, my son is entering! Open to ages 7-14 and the winner takes home their own treasure, $1000! What kid wouldn’t be excited about that!
Eric Delebarre just began his own adventure at home, with his new daughter Emery Jay. Congratulations Eric! Welcome to the Club of Parents and we wish you the most wonderful journey. Thank you for sharing this story with us and I hope many, many more are to come.
You can buy Saltwater Taffy on Amazon for $10.95.
I received samples for the purpose of reviewing. Opinions expressed are my own or my families and are not influenced by any form of compensation. Take it or leave it. Click here to view my full acknowledgment policy.