“They walked through the village and down the road. Horses and wheels had made tracks in the snow. Tom and Big John walked in the tracks.
Late in the day they came to London. Tom had thought it would be a beautiful place. He was disappointed to find the streets so dirty. The smoke in the air made him sneeze.
But there was much to see. There were horses and carriages. There were Christmas trees in the windows. There were people everywhere—more people than Tom had ever seen before.”
Immediately after country boy Tom’s introduction to the big city of London, he is shanghaied onto The Lady Peg, a pirate ship.
“I can’t stay and talk,” said the man (ship’s cook). “I’ve got my work.” But he did stay a minute longer. “Eat your food. I put a bit of pudding on the side, because of Christmas.”
Tom looked at the plate of salt fish with a bit of black pudding on the side. So it was Christmas Day, and this was his Christmas dinner.
Clyde Robert Bulla’s books are just right for early readers who are beginning to want chapter books. Pirate’s Promise is only 87 pages long, but it tells an exciting story of kidnapping, piracy, and eventually rescue. The pirates in the story are not romanticized, but also not wholly evil. And Tom is a sturdy young man who grows to find his own way and place in the world in spite of his circumstances.