Review Blog

Feb 03 2015

The beastly pirates by John Kelly

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781408849859
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Humour, Rhyming text, pirates. In poetic form, the story of the beastly pirates is told with pages filled with luminous illustrations revealing the most dangerous and bloodthirsty bunch of pirates imaginable.
Stories which curdle the blood are told about the most hardy of the lot, with each stanza revealing the life of one nasty creature known to each of the group gathered at the inn. Readers will instantly recognise the bravado of each pirate as they try to outdo the story before. So we have tales of Captain Death, the scariest pirate of them all, but outdone by Admiral Flea, so small that he could kill you with his cutlass from beneath, or Captain Snapper who liked to eat pirates, or Kusher Kraken with his multiplicity of legs to wrap around pirates he found on board.
Each tale is designed to amuse and inform, as children will learn many new seafaring words, and rhymes that make them laugh.
I laughed out loud at the tale of Krusher Kraken with his legs doing so many different things, and Captain Blimp so large they were able to make a pie of him for all to eat.
But all are frightened when the worst happens and a funny twist has their fearsomeness totally undermined.
As a story to read aloud, a tale to be part of a unit about pirates, a cute way to introduce rhyming words, or cooking and seafaring words, this book is a treat. It would work really well as a model for children's writing.
Children will love finding the array of piratey things in the wonderfully bold illustrations, and look for clues about their bravery.
Fran Knight

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