Reader Reviewed School Ship Tobermory by Alexander Mccall Smith

School Ship Tobermory

Written by Alexander Mccall Smith
Illustrated by Iain McIntosh

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

One of our Books of the Year 2015 Alexander McCall Smith has taken the ever-popular set up for a proper children’s story – group of plucky kids, no parents – and added to the scope for adventure tenfold by setting it on a tall ship. Twins Ben and Fee have grown up on a submarine because their parents are marine scientists. Now, nearly 13, it’s time they went to school and they are enrolled at a very unusual one: the School Ship Tobermory. They’ve only just begun to learn the ropes when they and their new friends spot some suspicious activity on board another ship supposedly being used in a film. The story is great fun, with some real suspense, and the descriptions of life afloat make it sound very tempting indeed: readers will agree with Ben when he decides that there’s nothing better than being at sea with friends, the empty sky above you and the wind in your hair. ~ Andrea Reece

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Daniel Bisland age 8 & Alexander Bisland age 10 - 'We think you should CAST OFF AND SET SAIL ON THE TOBERMORY! This book was slow to start but had an exciting finish and we enjoyed it.'
  • Emily Yates, age 9 - 'The most fun, informative book I have ever read!'
  • Tomasz Hawryszczuk, age 10 - 'Lots of adventure contained in this book...I can't wait for the next book in this series.'
  • Alex Hall, age 9 - 'Ben and Fee both go to the School Ship Tobermory to learn to be sailors...I liked this book because of the descriptions which made me smile and made me use my imagination.'
  • Elliot Bateman age 7 - The School Ship Tobermory was easy to read but not much happens for ages so I got fed up.'
  • Edward Macklin, age 10 - 'School Ship Tobermory is an incredible book where Fee and Ben are joining the Tobermory and everything is great-except for Hardtack, Shark and Flubber, the school is sheer perfection and deserves to win a gold medal.'
  • Emily Golding, age 8 - 'I enjoyed this book because of the excitement, the joy, the fear and most of all the way the author worded it perfectly and the illustrations were also perfect.'
  • Erica Motoc, age 9 - 'I very much enjoyed reading School Ship Tobermory...The setting attracts your imagination and is another reason why it makes you want to be a part of the book.'
  • Beatrice Whithear, age 8 - 'I really loved reading the School Ship Tobermory, I was a bit sad when I finished it and want to read it again already.'


School Ship Tobermory by Alexander Mccall Smith

The first of a brand-new series of adventure books from the creator of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, featuring a colourful cast of characters who live on board a sailing ship based in Tobermory, a real harbour town on the Scottish island of Mull.

Follow the exploits of the children who go to a most unusual school - the sail-powered training ship Tobermory. When a film crew arrives in Tobermory Bay, Ben and Fee are invited to be extras. But their suspicions are soon aroused - is the film crew genuine, or are they up to something sinister? Ben and Fee soon discover the truth when they uncover a dastardly plan masterminded by a South American businessman...


'This is the best new series for younger readers that we've seen coming through in a long time! Everything about it is a winner for us, from the plot and characters to the location and striking illustrations throughout. It is beautifully produced and as a gift edition hardback it was one of our Christmas top sellers. It continues to do well for us, though we are looking forward to the paperback hopefully coming soon! It really lends itself to hand-selling which makes it ideal for shops like ours and like most things from Alexander McCall Smith, it is utterly charming. We can't wait for the second in the series - I really feel this has the potential to be something really special in children's publishing and look forward to it being a permanent addition to our bookshelves' - Sally Pattle - Bookshop Manager, Far From the Madding Crowd'

About the Author

Alexander Mccall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith has written more than fifty books, including specialist academic titles, short story collections, and a number of immensely popular children's books. But he is best known for his internationally acclaimed No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, published in the US in 2002 and 2003. The first installment, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, received two Booker Judge's Special Recommendations upon its U.K. publication in 1998, and in 2003 received The Saga Wit Award (commonly known as the "silver Booker" for authors over the age of 50). The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series now numbers a total of five books (he is working on the sixth) and has been optioned for feature film. The series has become an international bestseller, with more than 3.5 million copies in print in the U.S. alone.

McCall Smith was born in Zimbabwe (formerly called Southern Rhodesia) and was educated there and in Scotland. He became a law professor in Scotland, and it was in this role that he first returned to Africa to work in Botswana, where he helped to set up a new law school at the University of Botswana. He was for many years Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh, and a visiting professor at a number of other universities elsewhere, including ones in Italy and the United States (where he has twice been visiting professor at SMU Law School in Dallas, Texas).

In addition to his university work, he was for four years the vice-chairman of the Human Genetics Commission of the UK, the chairman of the British Medical Journal Ethics Committee, and a member of the International Bioethics Commission of UNESCO.

Alexander McCall Smith currently lives in Edinburgh with his wife Elizabeth (an Edinburgh doctor), their two daughters Lucy and Emily, and their cat Gordon. His hobbies include playing wind instruments, and he is the co-founder of an amateur orchestra called "The Really Terrible Orchestra" in which he plays the bassoon and his wife plays the flute.

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Book Info


224 pages


Alexander Mccall Smith
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Birlinn Ltd an imprint of Birlinn General

Publication date

15th October 2015




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