Atticus Van Tasticus: The Map of Half Maps by Andrew Daddo
Illus. by Stephen Michael King. Penguin Random House, 2020. ISBN:
(Age:7-11) Recommended. Silliness, pirates, and eccentricity combine in a rollicking tale of treasure maps divided into pieces that need to be reconnected. Atticus is the ship's captain, and his rag-tag crew get on well despite, and because of, their individual capacities for strange behaviours. When they are at risk of attack from another pirate ship - the Pegasis, and then from a marauding Viking ship (with an Abba-esque singing captain), they must escape . . . and do it quickly. A chance encounter with a raft containing another eccentric, but nearly dead character named Half Map, gives them hope of finding the missing piece from their treasure map. Before they know it, they are back under attack and must go all out to save their own ship.
Daddo has created a book of piratical lunacy with some rather sweet moments, and some typically boy-friendly yukky moments, in combination with quirky humour to entertain younger readers. There are some hidden quirks, for example the Abba references and jokes related to Abba songs; some naive poetry; the 'resurrection' of Half Map a number of times; and the somewhat incorrect map in four halves! Stephen Michael King's distinctive illustrations and inserted pieces of visual comedy add to the sense of fun in this book. This is a book just for the fun of it! Young readers will love the pirate attacks, swinging from ship to ship and the knowledge of conflict at close quarters (but sensibly there is very little violence described in any detail).
Recommended, not as literature, but for amusement . . . for readers aged 7-11. Themes: Humorous fiction; Pirates.