The Pirates are Coming!

The Pirates are Coming!
John Condon and Matt Hunt
Nosy Crow

Can there be room on the shelf for yet more pirate books? It’s pretty likely as children seem to have a penchant for things piratical; and John Condon and Matt Hunt’s salty offering will definitely be a crowd pleaser.

It tells of young Tom who daily climbs the hill overlooking the sea in the hope of spying a pirate ship; and one day he does – so he thinks.

He rings a bell and all the villagers dash for cover; turns out though, that it’s a case of misidentification. Tom’s dad reminds him pirates have ‘BIG’ ships. Undaunted, Tom continues his daily watch but again and again he gets it wrong, needlessly sending the villagers into hiding.

Unsurprisingly they begin to get blasé and so the next time Tom yells “PIRATES” as he rushes down the hill,

not a single person hides – until that is, they hear the tell-tale “squawk!’ of a parrot.

Here, the tale takes a twist and the finale is a wonderful surprise. I certainly don’t want to be a story spoiler so I’ll leave the villagers in hiding and the pirates sailing silently into the harbour, gangplank at the ready …

John Condon’s story is full of drama, and superbly paced, with plenty of laughs along the way: further laughs will be induced thanks to Matt Hunt’s splendid illustrations. On every spread there’s something giggle worthy – rather, make that several things.

If you enjoy putting on a performance with your story sharing, you’ll absolutely relish reading this one with a group of youngsters and they’ll love it too.

The Wondrous Dinosaurium / My Perfect Pup

The Wondrous Dinosaurium
John Condon and Steve Brown
Maverick Arts Publishing

Danny is thrilled when his mum finally agrees to let him have a pet and he knows what he wants. Not a common or garden cat or dog but something much more exciting – something prehistoric no less. And he knows exactly the place to go: an establishment belonging to Mr Ree.

His first choice, a Diplodocus requiring vast amounts of vegetation every day quickly proves too much, so it’s back to the shop for something slightly smaller.

In fact Danny returns to Mr Ree’s Wondrous Dinosaurium quite a few times, trying out a range of possibilities …

until finally he comes upon a box in a dark corner of the shop.

His mum thinks he’s brought home a tortoise but she’s in for a surprise when the creature comes out of its shell.

John Condon’s amusing tale about the pitfalls of not doing any research before choosing a pet will hit the spot with both dinosaur lovers and pet people.
Steve Brown’s illustrations of the dinosaur menagerie are at once droll and yet recognisably authentic dinosaur species: avid dinosaur fans may well be able to put names to all Mr Ree’s stock of creatures, one of which was new to this reviewer.

My Perfect Pup
Sue Walker and Anil Tortop
New Frontier Publishing

Siblings Max and Millie have definite ideas about what they’re looking for as they head for the Perfect Petshop, very different ideas. However they both fall for the same beguiling little pup.

Inevitably though, Tiny, as they decide to call him, doesn’t remain so for very long; nor does he live up to Millie’s ‘pretty’ requirement. In fact he’s so far from perfect by both siblings’ standards …

that one day they return him to the pet shop.

Tiny himself has ideas about the perfect owner and when Joe Barnaby arrives on the scene it looks as though he might just be the one.

Joe and his family live on a farm with sheep, and Joe loves to play, to run and sometimes to take a ride on the dog, now named Horse. What better place for a sheepdog?

Expectations, acceptance and being patient are key themes in Sue Walker’s enjoyable story for which Anil Tortop’s spirited illustrations really bring out Tiny/Horse’s personality.