The Monkey Pirates by Mark Skelton and Ben Redlich
|The Monkey Pirates by Mark Skelton and Ben Redlich
|Category: Confident Readers
|Reviewer: John Lloyd
|Summary: This is great fun, with a young girl unwittingly falling into travel (and out of wardrobes) with the titular pirates, but only serves as a taster for a full-flowing series of hijinks for the under-10s that sadly will elude us.
|Date: January 2009
|Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd
To start with an immediate comparison; one look at this book made me instantly think of You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton. It's from the same publisher, and has their house style of large font that makes the pages all whizz by in what can at times seem poor value. There is the same wackiness when it comes to both the story, its characters and its telling. Heck, it even starts with a sea shanty. But with the Mr Gum series firmly established in my mind as a favourite, this had a lot to live up to.
We are in the world of idiocy, or at least the wacky, from the off. The narration, having got just three words under its belt, sits back and discusses those three words, rather than offer up any more. Luckily they're good words. The proliferation of others that follow lead us to the story of Emily Jane, and her wardrobe, and the twelve monkey pirates that use it and other wardrobes like it as a form of TARDIS. Also, her guardian uncle has vanished, having invented wardrobes in the first place. And time travel.
Of major concern then are the monkey pirates, and their shenanigans, and they are all introduced to us in a nice way throughout the book, allowing us all to choose one as a favourite (for me, definitely Dave).
However the key word there is introduction, for that pretty much is all we get here. Said shenanigans do take us to an unusual location, for a bit of mischief, but I think slightly ineffectually. By the time the whole concept of the series has been brought to our attention, and we get some pointed nudges from the narrative as to who is who and to what Emily Jane is too close to see – that might actually be too broad for people much over the target 8-year old audience – we are drifting to what I call the DVD extras at the end.
There is still the very redeeming fun to come before that however, with all the burping, monkey swear words, menus and everything else we should of course expect. We had hoped that there would be more - much more - to come and it's with great sadness that we learn that Mark Skelton did not live to see the book published. The one completed sequel which surely will prove what will sadly never be realised cannot come too soon.
We at the Bookbag must thank Egmont for our review copy.
If this book appeals then we think that you might alos enjoy The Space Brigade and the Petrifying Problem with Princess Petronella by L M Moriarty.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The Monkey Pirates by Mark Skelton and Ben Redlich at Amazon.com.
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