Pirates vs. Monsters / The Knight Who Might

Thanks to Maverick Publishing for sending these two picture books for review

Pirates vs. Monsters
David Crosby and Lee Cosgrove

Three pirates, Hector (tall, strong and bold), Sue (curly haired and fearsome) and George (rather rotund) meet in their local hostelry one foggy night.

They boast about their monstrous conquests; Hector’s of the poison-spitting Hockler;

Sue’s of the double-headed Crunk …

and George’s of the limb- gobbling Muncher that had feasted on one of his lower limbs,

regaling one another with their modes of over-coming the gruesome beasties.

Truth or fantasy? That is the question.

Meanwhile through the fog a ship approaches … Fiction or phantom? Err … now that WOULD be telling.

This rip, roaring rhyming yarn from debut picture book author David Crosby exudes daftness and delicious mock-scariness, brought into being so the characters almost leap off the pages in Lee Cosgrove’s zany scenes of groggy picaroons and maniacal monstrosities.

I envisage this one becoming a much requested storytime tale in foundation stage classes and families with young landlubbers.

As will this one, coming soon:

The Knight Who Might
Lou Treleaven and Kyle Beckett

With her repeat refrain ‘ “You might not” said the … / (It was a magic …. ) / “But I might,” said the knight.’ (insert ‘sword’, or ‘helmet’ where it fits), Lou Treleaven entertains with her tale of yore wherein the inept titular knight aspires to attain knightdom but discovers that it’s a long road so to do.

Yes, he has the accoutrements,  (or rather he did have); but with their scathing comments– “He’ll be exhausted,” (that’s the horse.) “He’ll be cut to pieces,” (spoken by the sword) and “He’ll lose his head,” (helmet’s put down)

our hopeful champ of derring-do sets out on foot to meet his first combatant ‘The Lord with the Scary Looking Sword’ in a tournament.

After a change of heart, those bit part players (now out of hiding) are somewhat more upbeat than their owner, as the two contestants gallop towards each other.

If you want to know the outcome of their combat, then you’ll need your own copy of Lou’s olde story of trying, replete with its puns and onomatopoeia. It’s illustrated with appropriate verve and humour in Kyle Beckett’s slapstick style scenes of clanking-clonking, stomping, donking and plonking.

Revenge of the Living Ted

Revenge of the Living Ted
Barry Hutchinson, illustrated by Lee Cosgrove
Stripes Publishing

This is the sequel to Night of the Living Ted and it’s every bit as good a tale.

Early on in the story we meet  Bearvis, Dad’s birthday gift styled on his favourite singer who plays a significant role later on.

A little while after, Lisa Marie and Vernon are just leaving Drake’s house having discovered that he remembers nothing – so he says – of their previous teddy bear filled adventure, when two pairs of rough furry hands throw bags over their heads and bundle them into the back of a car.

The next thing they know is that they’re sitting chained up in what looks like from the clues they spot, the boardroom of a successful business establishment.

Suddenly in bursts a strangely shaped man who introduces himself as Ursine Kodiak. Said character boasts that he’s the genius responsible for building the machine that brought monstrous teddy bears to life and then was able to eradicate the events surrounding them from the memories of those involved.

Then he takes the two children into his bear-filled factory and starts blabbing on about Mummy Bear (from the Goldilocks story which he misremembers), artificial intelligence and other alarming things. Furthermore he wants to enlist Lisa Marie’s help with his future plans for saving the world and things really seem dangerous. Should she become his Executive Senior Assistant?

Let’s go no further with this smashing fast-moving, fur-filled farce, but just say that it’s sure to fire up enthusiasm with readers and listeners – it’s a terrific read aloud – and along the way might introduce youngsters to some exciting new vocabulary. To add to the enjoyment, the text is liberally sprinkled with dramatic illustrations by Lee Cosgrove.

Roll on the third adventure.