Nugget comes back from school with a drawing of a beautiful mermaid. Jim laughs: mermaids aren’t like that at all! He knows, for he has seen plenty of them when the family was sailing the seas! This, of course, terribly vexes Nugget. She doesn’t even listen to Matilda who says mermaids do not exist! Embarrassed, Jim wants to make it up to his little sister: he is going to take her on a “mermaid safari”. But mermaids don’t exist, Matilda insists! Yeah, well, if Matilda would be so kind to use this giant tuna as a disguise, she’d make a very good mermaid! So the two kids set their plan in motion to make the little girl happy… But Nuggets finds out the truth, and is going to make them pay – with gusto!
Jim and his family seem to have fallen victim to a curse, and decide to go back to sea. If not, they are in danger of being turned into “landlubbers” just like their house, which is magically cleaned and nicely decorated in their absence. Matilda doesn’t believe in this so-called curse and sets out with a “scared-but-not-admitting-it” Jim to expose the fraud… For there is a Mrs. Bevan, well intent on making the pirates leave. And Matilda will stop her!
Matilda is way too curious. As she tries to take a look inside the pirates’ ship, she sets it loose, and the Black Hole goes all the way down the street… until it crashes into the school! To make matters worse, Grandpa is still inside, and he is furious. He starts bombing the town with his cannons, and makes it impossible for anyone, even Jim, to come close! For Mrs. Bevan, it’s the last straw. This time, she is going to have the pirates evicted from town! Jim gathers Matilda, Max and Alexia to board the ship and stop the old man before he has everything destroyed; but it’s not going to be easy, facing an enraged Grandpa with a bunch of mismatched freshwater pirates!
Matilda has to apologize to Grandpa for stepping once again on the Black Hole. She offers him an inkwell and a nice quill to write his memoirs. Alas! Squawk sees the quill and thinks Grandpa is cheating on him with another chick! A huge quarrel happens and the jealous bird leaves the ship in a huff. Grandpa is devastated, and while Jim is all for telling the truth right away like it’s no big deal, Matilda would rather fix things AND keep her involvement secret. And they have to hurry, because Squawk unleashes his fury on Dull-on-Sea! Matilda will have to come clean, as it’s up to Jim and her to stop the ongoing madness.
Jim sets sail with the VPMs (for “Valiant ‘Prentice Mariners”), Ted Winner’s little sailors But he is quickly disillusioned: Ted bosses everyone around! This has nothing to do with sailing like pirates do! For her part, Matilda is kept at home, bored stiff… How she wishes she could join Jim on the sea! Until she learns of an approaching storm. She has to warn Jim! But first, she has to escape. Jim tries to escape the VPMs, too, but gets stuck with Ted’s silly assignments. And then the storm is there. Will everyone come through safe and sound?
During an assignment on ancestry, Jim discovers that he is not descended from the infamous Rackham Red Blood, but from Francis Flunky, an expert on etiquette. Devastated as he is by the awful news, Jim refuses to become a usurper. He determines to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious forebear by turning into a model boy: he becomes the most insipid little boy, taking lessons from Mrs. Bevan on good manners. However, when Grandpa makes Matilda his prisoner, Jim is forced to react… and he’ll find out that you can’t board a ship by asking nicely and being polite!
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