Review Blog

May 20 2013

The Pirate Company: On the Trail of the Golden Toucan by Susan Cason

cover image

Scholastic Australia, 2013. ISBN: 9781742990026. RRP: $14.99 288p.
(Age: 9-11) Highly recommended. Themes: Pirates; Adventure; Voyages and Travels. Tom Applecross's life is one of misadventure, his father Josiah Applecross a famous explorer has failed to return from his latest expedition. His avaricious stepmother Evlynne casts him aside and he has to leave Port Pandora to live with his Great-Aunt Audrey in Boston. Aboard the Marie-Gallante his life undergoes a radical change. Fearsome pirates swarm the ship flourishing an armoury of bayonets and pistols, frightening the passengers and crew with their blood-curdling cries. They ransack the ship and steal personal possessions, supplies and the pink pearls.
Later that night Tom is swept overboard in a storm and is washed ashore on a deserted island. By coincidence this is where the pirates come ashore to replenish their buried treasure chest. Tom is captured by Carrot and Mortlock who is meaner than a tubful of piranhas, and they row him to their ship The Thimblerig. There he awaits his fate at the hands of Captain Shearwater. Along the way Captain Shearwater's niece Rosie assists Tom is his myriad of adventures.
Each chapter is full of rich sensory descriptions, these sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings of the pirates' life at sea and their life ashore. Susan Cason has beautifully captured the dramas and dilemmas, the twists and turns of Tom's journey to become accepted as one of the pirate crew. The pirates' life is a sanitised one, skimming over their darker pleasures, taverns, women and mayhem.This is a wonderful fast-paced read; it would make a great class novel for Years 4-6.
This novel is highly recommended for 9-11 year old confident readers. Scholastic teaching notes are available.
Rhyllis Bignell

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals 2018
National Book Award winners 2017
Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards 2017
YABBA Awards 2017
Teens' top 10
2017 Man Booker Prize
Australian Family Therapists' Award for Children's Literature 2017 winners
2017 Children's Peace Literature Award Short List
Inkys Awards 2017
2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award
2017 NSW Premier's History Awards
The Queensland Literary Awards 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Bookmark and poster templates