Captain Bluebear has twenty six lives to live and in this story, he recounts only the first thirteen lives. Filled with enemies as well as new friends, Bluebear struggles through bewitched and haunted swamps, finds friends in unexpected places and exponentially expands his mind while studying with the wacky Professor Abdullah Nightingale at the Nocturnal Academy. The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear follows a bluebear, the last of his kind, as he bumbles through adventure after adventure trying to find out just where he fits into the world and who he might share that place with. The Bluebear of the fictional world Zamonia has an impressive 27 lives to live. The particular Bluebear in this story is the last of his kind, a baby no bigger than a thimble, floating on the stormy seas in a walnut shell. As such, he has no one to give him a name until he is rescued from a giant whirlpool by a ship of mini-pirates who dub him...Bluebear. The mini-pirates teach Bluebear to sail as well as them, being that they are near geniuses when it comes to swashbuckling and sailing but once he becomes to large for the ship, they send him out into the world alone. It is once he leaves the mini-pirates that Bluebear meets a pair of pugnacious and chatty waves of the ocean who teach him how to speak, give him words to express himself which helps him begin a friendship with a nearly blind Pterodactyl named Mac. Mac's mission in life is to soar above the ocean, spot out sailors in trouble and swoop down at the last moment to help them. Of course being quite old and quite blind, Mac has far too many close calls of his own and so Mac and Bluebear develop a symbiotic relationship; Mac carries Bluebear on his back and gets a pair of young, keen eyes to help guide him, and Bluebear in turn receives the friendship of the batty but wise and kind old dinosaur. Once again, the day comes when Bluebear becomes far too big for his friends; Mac is no longer able to carry him on his back. So the two part ways and Bluebear is on his own once more. His ensuing thirteen lives are filled with dangers as he struggles through bewitched and haunted swamps, finds new friends and exponentially expands his mind while studying with Professor Abdullah Nightingale at the Nocturnal Academy and battles a giant and ferocious spider dead-set on making him her next meal. Through all of this, Bluebear learns more about himself as his mettle is tested time and time again. The more Bluebear sees of the world, the more resigned he becomes to the fact that he is indeed the last of his species. Until, finally when he least expects it, he meets another Bluebear, a girl and the two naturally become quite enamored of each other and decide to spend the rest of their 13 and 1/2 lives together. Thus, Bluebear finds that he is not done having adventures but now he has someone to share those adventures with.
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Best part of story, including ending:
I liked the whimsical aspect. I felt like I was reading something that had been melded together using parts of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Harry Potter. I picked up the book on a whim due to the colorful cover art, and though it is meant for young adults, I enjoyed the ride.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Bluebear was trapped in the bewitched swamp. The swamp was full of ghosts but also the most delicious and nourishing food you could ever hope to eat, which made it difficult for Bluebear to find the gumption to leave. I liked reading it because the author really had to stretch his imagination muscles in order to come up with so many imaginary foods that would be appetizing to the reader as well. That takes skill. It certainly made me hungry.
Opinion about the main character:
here wasn't much to dislike about Bluebear. He often found himself in very trying situations and reacted much the same way I would have reacted had I been facing down a giant spider and had been lost inside a pitch black maze buried underneath a mountain. I liked that Bluebear didn't automatically give in to defeat. Something in him, the need to survive, courage, kept him going and I thought that admirable and a great example for anyone of any age.