By: R. M. Ballantyne
Rating: 4 stars
Ages: 13/14 and up (for action, violence, and somewhat detailed accounts of the savage’s practices of paganism)
Fifteen-year-old Ralph, mischievous young Peterkin, and clever, brave Jack are shipwrecked on a coral island with only a telescope and a broken pocketknife between them. At first the island seems a paradise with its plentiful foods and wealth of natural wonders. But then a party of cannibals arrive, and after that a pirate ship...what is to become of them?
The Coral Island was truly fun. I now understand why it was one of the most well-loved Ballantyne books of its time and even today. The characters were interesting. I fell in love with them immediately. The storyline was fascinating and well-written.
It espoused principles such as fighting for the right and protecting the innocent, which can be rare in books today.
I will point out, though, that the savages' evil practices didn't necessarily need to be so detailed, so it's less appropriate for young and/or sensitive readers.