Captain Firebeard's School for Pirates: The Sneaky Sweet Stealer by Chae Strathie and Anna Chernyshova

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Captain Firebeard's School for Pirates: The Sneaky Sweet Stealer by Chae Strathie and Anna Chernyshova

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A welcome second book in this series, but one that doesn't quite match up to the delights of the first.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 204 Date: August 2017
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 9781407163406

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The Rusty Barnacle is set to sail again, with a second term for the wannabe pirates and their teachers and crew. Tommy, despite being late, is the keenest pupil there – after all, he has great friends, enemies he can easily vanquish, and a very good novice parrot for company. But everyone on board has reason for concern when they set sail – the prize sweets from the tuck shop are going missing in great quantities. Who could possibly be behind this mystery?

I said in my review of the first book that there wasn't a huge amount of surprise in store for anyone, and I don't think there will be too many readers finding much surprise here, either. OK, I'll admit this book is for the under-nines, but even so – the way a certain something is set-up is rather blatant, and as a result the drama can feel a little lacking. That said, it is certainly on the interesting side for the target audience, and Tommy, Jo the roustabout girl pirate, and Milton the scaredy-cat PoC one, are definitely likeable enough to justify more than one reading.

What's more, there is no small amount of invention in the verbal presentation – the text isn't all pirate cliché, but just the right amount, and the many sweet and chocolate names found in the tuck shop would defeat many a lesser author. What I did find disappointing, in the light of what I remembered of the first book, was that the presentation was black and white, when we had colour last time. Yes, just one colour – the vivid orange shade similar to the hairs belonging to the training ship's Captain Firebeard – but it really made the book stand out. Here, despite the multitude of different fonts, and breaking-out into LARGE BOLD BITS for little reason, it looks a little too, well, ordinary.

Still, ordinary can still be better than satisfactory, and so is this. There is a brio and vim to the telling, and it remains a perfectly decent story, set in an enjoyable – and ever-expanding – pirate world. It's definitely term two, but completely self-contained, so they could still be read in any order. I wish it well in the marketplace, for it deserves an audience, which I hope it gets even while in black and white. If not, then the colour-thief should spend some time with a Jagsnaggler.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The same audience will probably enjoy The Demon Headmaster: Total Control by Gillian Cross which acts as a reboot of that older, but ever sprightly, series.

Buy Captain Firebeard's School for Pirates: The Sneaky Sweet Stealer by Chae Strathie and Anna Chernyshova at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Captain Firebeard's School for Pirates: The Sneaky Sweet Stealer by Chae Strathie and Anna Chernyshova at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Captain Firebeard's School for Pirates: The Sneaky Sweet Stealer by Chae Strathie and Anna Chernyshova at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Captain Firebeard's School for Pirates: The Sneaky Sweet Stealer by Chae Strathie and Anna Chernyshova at Amazon.com.


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