Pirates 'n' Pistols by Chris Mould

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Pirates 'n' Pistols by Chris Mould

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A lavish compendium of piratical short stories for those who like their swashes buckled by the best.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: August 2012
Publisher: Hodder Children's
ISBN: 9780340999349

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Longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2013

Out of all the unusual careers focused on in primary school activity – you know the ones, astronaut, footballer, dinosaur hunter, Olympic torch relay bodyguard, that sort of thing – that of pirate seems to be the most bizarre. Yes it brings an easy stereotype when it comes to fancy dress time, but why the tales of skulduggery, piracy and fatal thievery are so common and so popular among that age group is a bit beyond me. It's nothing to aspire too, really, is it? Still, for those still of that age, here is a very good, entertaining and commendably presented anthology of short tales of seafaring, treasure hunting, and their consequences.

It's all been illustrated by Chris Mould, but not all the words are his. He has the majority of the credit, as while he offers five stories under his name, from the very atmospheric and still amusing telling of Davy Jones' Locker, to the should-have-seen-it-coming-(but-didn't) of Dead Man's Ink, he also brings to our attention different authors and their part of things – and yet not from the most expected of places.

This means that Mould gets to adapt a beginning excerpt from Stevenson's Treasure Island, and rewrite a Wilkie Collins short story to bring it into the pirate mythology. There's also a child-friendly extract from Poe, and visits to ancient Greece and distant Japan. Throw into that the snappy modern pirate story he closes his volume with and you have a successful visit to most of the seven seas.

His artwork is just as versatile, from scratchy cartoonish human characters to well-crafted, poised vistas of pirate ships at bay, or under the battering of a storm. The spreads mean the word count is a little low – one tale here is just a page and a half, and none are longer than ten minutes really, and for some annoying reason a lot of the pictures disappear into the crease of the book's spine, but the full colour adds to the impact of the words, and while not quite as lavish as it could have been the book does look almost wonderful.

What's most pleasing is that Mould has successfully made the transition from illustrator (of books such as The Funfair of Fear!, to producing a series of these anthologies. If the others are as diverse, intelligently crafted and snappily entertaining as this, his second career could well take precedent in future.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

And in fact we have seen other books in this series to enjoy just as much - Dust 'n' Bones by Chris Mould covers your ghost story wishes. For more pirates, though, there is little much better than The Dread Pirate Fleur and the Ruby Heart by Sara Starbuck.

Buy Pirates 'n' Pistols by Chris Mould at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Pirates 'n' Pistols by Chris Mould at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Pirates 'n' Pistols by Chris Mould at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Pirates 'n' Pistols by Chris Mould at Amazon.com.


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