As you sail along with Salty and the Pirates, you’ll set out to solve a mystery packed with adventure and friendship. When Salty and his friends discover the old lost treasure of the ancient Zapotecs, they come to understand the real meaning of the legendary “power of light.” While making one of their frequent trips to their “secret cave,” Salty and his friend, Katie, discover adult footprints leading up to the cave and then to the local marina. Has someone been following them? For what reason? Salty and Katie are set on finding out who the ominous footprints belong to. This mysterious sign triggers a major treasure hunt that eventually uncovers the apparently “lost” treasure of the ancient Zapotecs. Along the way the reader will encounter pirates, thieves, skullduggery, and even mermaids!

Salty and the Pirates is not just a book, it is a complete kit with accessories and activities such as: a glossary, songs to sing, pictures to color, logs to fill out, colored pencils with sharpener, and a CD ROM which contains music for singing and playing and also a computer coloring system. All it lacks for the perfect cruise is a personal flotation device!

This book/package is geared for 8- to 12-year-olds. Though I enjoyed the detective/mystery aspect of the story, older readers may find themselves wanting a higher level of suspense and danger. Younger kids who may have trouble reading it to themselves, or who are emerging readers, may still really enjoy the story and some of the activities. A helpful addition might be to include a reading of the story on the CD ROM.

Salty and the Pirates may be just the right thing for passing the time away when you’re stuck in the doldrums. I recommend this enjoyable activity book for lads and lassies shipping aboard with their parents. And, ahoy mates, there’s a Salty II on the horizon.

Salty & the Pirates by Marie Delaney (Midnight Caravan Publishing, 2002; 213 pages)