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Children's Fiction Survival Stories

Smuggler's Cave

by (author) Sonya Spreen Bates

illustrated by Kasia Charko

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Nov 2010
Survival Stories, Siblings, Boats, Ships & Underwater Craft
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 8
  • Grade: 1 to 3
  • Reading age: 6 to 8


Jake and his younger brother Tommy are visiting family at a beach house on the coast. Having already lost a race to his cousin Lexie, Jake can't resist a second chance at victory when she challenges him again. Only this time it's a boat race-to the legendary Smuggler's Cave and back. The ocean is deep and choppy, and the boat is harder to control than Jake thought it would be. When he and Tommy reach Smuggler's Cave, the unthinkable happens. The boat capsizes, and they are swept into the cave. Lexie comes to their rescue, but the rising tide prevents them from escaping, and the three of them soon realize they are trapped.

About the authors

Sonya Spreen Bates' profile page

Pamela McDowell’s first career was in education, teaching junior high and high school. She began writing when she left teaching and has now written more than twenty nonfiction books for children. Pamela grew up in Alberta and enjoys writing about the diverse animals and habitats of her home province. Ospreys in Danger is her first work of fiction. Pamela lives in Calgary, Alberta, with her husband, two kids and an Australian shepherd. For more information, visit


Kasia Charko's profile page


  • Commended, South Australia Premier's Reading Challenge Booklist

Excerpt: Smuggler's Cave (by (author) Sonya Spreen Bates; illustrated by Kasia Charko)

The boat was pushed closer to the cliff with each surge of the sea. Jake glanced back and saw the entrance to the cave a short distance away. Each time a wave hit, water rushed into the hole, like storm water down a drain. Then it was sucked out again as the wave receded.
   "Jake! Look out!" said Tommy, standing up and pointing.
   Jake saw the cliff loom up in front of him.
   "Hold on!" he shouted.

Editorial Reviews

"Bates does an excellent job of writing a fast-paced story for the early chapter book genre. Reading a section that takes place in the cave aloud to students would certainly pique their interest."

Resource Links

"A high interest easy reader featuring an engaging trip...The characters are well drawn and interesting and resourceful...Pirates, shipwreck, waves and danger add to the excitement."


"Jake, Tommy and Lexie are engaging characters, and the addition of a female protagonist widens the appeal of this already captivating novel…This book would be thoroughly enjoyed by any child interested in classic adventure stories with resourceful characters…Recommended."

CM Magazine

"The brisk pace may attract reluctant readers, and the suspense level is appropriate for the target audience."

Library Media Connection

"Bates has the wonderful knack of immediately establishing character relationships…The plot moves quickly with plenty of twists and turns. The style of language used is perfect for early readers but the book never plods and nor are young readers written down to…The dialogue is realistic and snappy contributing to the fast pace of the story."

Buzz Words Books blog

Other titles by Sonya Spreen Bates

Other titles by Kasia Charko