The Giant Rat of Sumatra: or Pirates Galore
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The Giant Rat of Sumatra: or Pirates Galore

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3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  128 ratings  ·  22 reviews
A swashbuckling tale of thievery and revenge

The Giant Rat of Sumatra is the most notorious pirate ship in the Pacific. Its ferocious figurehead, a rat with crooked teeth and gouged-out eyes, strikes fear in the heart of every seafaring crew. Now the ship has dropped anchor in San Diego. Twelve-year-old cabin boy Shipwreck -- so named after he was rescued from the sea by th...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Greenwillow Books (first published 2005)
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Laura
I saw this title as I was glancing through a stack of books at a garage sale. The Giant Rat of Sumatra. It instantly rang a bell. The giant rat of Sumatra was the name of an undocumented case solved by Sherlock Holmes. Was this a piece of imitation fiction based on the master detective? I would soon find out.

As it turns out, although the name was derived from the Holmes stories, but book itself had nothing to do with Holmes. Instead, it told the story of a pirate ship…

The Story.

Shipwreck never...more
Marta-Kate
Twelve-year-old cabin boy Shipwreck was plucked from the Pacific and tossed into a world of mutineers, bandits, lost love, treasure, and revenge aboard the notorious Giant Rat of Sumatra. Young Shipwreck simply wants to begin the long voyage home to Boston from San Diego, but befriends the great pirate turned hidalgo Captain Alejandro Gallows from whom he learns the importance of loyalty, acceptance, and bravery amidst greed and war. The story is set in 1846 during the Mexican-American War and a...more
Adrienne
The Giant Rat of Sumatra was a quick, 193-page read. It’s a kid’s book, by Newberry-winner Sid Fleischman. I’ve enjoyed Fleischman’s books in the past, and I generally enjoy reading children’s books, but I felt like this one wasn’t as good as previous works of Fleischman’s. It felt a little predictable to me, and also a little lacking in detail.

San Diego in 1846 is Mexican territory, and Mexico is at war with the United States, which is a problem for Shipwreck, cabin boy of the pirate ship, Gian...more
Bonnie Gayle
Jul 31, 2007 Bonnie Gayle rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of adventuresome historical fiction books
This is a "pirate" story that takes place on land. If you can get over that, it's actually an enjoyable read. It's written by the author of The Whipping Boy, which I wasn't a huge fan of, but you can really see in this how his writing has progressed.
The story is about a boy who goes off to sea at 11 on his stepfather's whaling boat. His boat sinks, and he is rescued by a pirating ship. When they get to land in San Diego, then part of Mexico, he finds out that Mexico and America are at war, and t...more
Faithonthebass
had to read it for langley book of the year. what were they thinking. honestly. i was expecting swashbuckling adventure on the high seas, not border skirmishes, farming and terrible spanish impersonations. not enjoyable for anyone who appreciates a little more plot
Anastasia Romanov
Otro buen recuerdo de la primaria. Este libro más 'El pan de la guerra'. Fueron excelentes libros, me dieron buenos recuerdos.
David
What I thought about this novel was breathtaking. This book was amazing. I could not put it down.
Kristen
I'm not too proud to read books labeled "10 and up," and you shouldn't be either. Sometimes they're a lot of fun - especially if they're historical adventure stories. In 1846 San Diego, California, twelve-year-old Shipwreck is brought ashore by the pirate captain who rescued him from the sea, and who is now bent on becoming an hidalgo - and completing his revenge on the local man who wronged him years ago. A fast-paced, mostly credible, and often funny yarn, this story did have a few continuity...more
Lynn Kelley
What a fun and entertaining read for kids (and adults like myself who enjoy kids' books). Lots of adventure and I learned some new things about San Diego, California's history and the Mexican-American War. I love the main character, Shipwreck, and Captain Gallows the pirate. I found the relationship that developed between them quite endearing. I recommend this book to kids, especially boys who are reluctant to read. This is a story that's funny, amusing, and engaging.
Brian Hull
Hi my name is Dylan Hull, my dad is Brian Hull. I read the book and it was just okay. There are many reasons why the book was not that good, like there was not enough adventure. The middle and the end were very sloww. I read this book for my historical fiction report. By chapter eight, it started to get less entertaining. All in all, the book was pretty good.
Squeaky
I liked it a lot, I don't know if I REALLY liked it, but I'm going to read more Sid, as I've read a lot of Paul already. Read this because I like the cover AND it takes place in San Diego. And PIRATES! Ran across it during inventory, it's funny the books I find while scanning'n'dusting!
Sharri
Not as good as By the Great Horn Spoon, but still a great swashbuckling tale for kids that brings Californian history alive. Whereas the Great Horn book was about the gold rush, this one is about California being won from Mexico by the US. A fun read full of great characters.
Marilyn
San Diego in 1946. Ranchos, bandits, sailors, pirates, and a young boy making his way and finding his identity. What's not to like? Clever and funny. Would be especially appealing to boys, I think.
Alice
I like this book as a historical fiction. I wouldn't say it is the best book ever written but I think boys 8-10 would like it. The history part was interesting and had a nice twist at the end!
Josephine
Fleischman's writing style changed over the years, for which I can hardly blame him; I prefer his earlier books, but this one was at least a fun read.
Kat_18
Jan 24, 2008 Kat_18 rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who have to read this book for the battle of the books
Recommended to Kat_18 by: BATTLE OF THE BOOKS
UMMM... I would recomend this book to elementary school kids in the kent school district from ages 9-12 because it's a battle of the books.
Buddy
Apr 25, 2008 Buddy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Danny Noorlander
It is about pirates and bandits!with mexico in war with America!And sea lions too!
B
A cabin boy on a pirate ship finds himself in 1846 San Diego. Amusing
Jone
Aug 15, 2007 Jone rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 4th and 5th grade
It was an enjoyable read. I liked Bandit's Moon better.
Ginger
good action/mystery with boy appeal
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Not as good as his older stories.
Rose
Jul 03, 2008 Rose added it
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7536
As a children's book author Sid Fleischman felt a special obligation to his readers. "The books we enjoy as children stay with us forever -- they have a special impact. Paragraph after paragraph and page after page, the author must deliver his or her best work." With almost 60 books to his credit, some of which have been made into motion pictures, Sid Fleischman can be assured that his work will m...more
More about Sid Fleischman...
The Whipping Boy By the Great Horn Spoon! Escape!: The Story of the Great Houdini The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West The Entertainer and the Dybbuk

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