Pirates Magnified: With a 3x Magnifying Glass by David Long and Harry Bloom

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Pirates Magnified: With a 3x Magnifying Glass by David Long and Harry Bloom

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: At last, a Where's Wally book about a specific non-fiction subject, that teaches you as you seek.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 48 Date: September 2017
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781786030276

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It's becoming easier and easier to spot books for the young about pirates – that surely is about the only career from the seventeenth century that gets so many volumes produced about it. It must be a combination of the derring-do, the illegality, and of course the fancy dress and silly speak that appeals – nowhere else would you see a youngster studying one country's attacks on another, and reading about how treasures, slaves and other resources changed hands. This volume, however, tries its best to stand out, and has adopted the equally prevalent concept of getting the reader to pore over large dioramas to seek the small detail hidden in the images. For once, though, there's a thoroughly educative reasoning behind it.

Yes, as much as I like the Where's Wally books for the fun they provide, not many of them actually go far along the road to teaching you anything. But this book does. You get fifteen and a half large spreads to scan, and a list of ten things to find each time – before the habitual bonus round tie-breaker thing at the end. Each spread has a few good, well-written paragraphs concerning the subject, and everything on your to-find list has a little detail about it, too, so you can learn about letters of marque, and different characters, weapons and flags (for not all were skull and crossbones, by any stretch) while you're on the lookout. One spread is extra-educational, as what we seek are goods from the world, and while we're told where they come from the map to find them on is unlabelled, so we get a bonus geography lesson too.

The artwork is a very pleasing, cartoonish kind, but all the illustrations are good, showing a decent level of variety and (I guess) accuracy, with the different kinds of ship, situations and so on. That breadth is helped by the written content, which varies from the modern day search for sunken treasure, to different pirates in action, whether they be the common ones we know of on the Spanish Main or from very different corners of the world. There's even one alleged pirate who became Archbishop of York, in the bonus rogue's gallery.

It's not a perfect book – too often the layout means the final, crucial paragraph of the text is divorced from the rest and hidden away in a corner, so the narratives get interrupted, and the gimmick of providing a 'free' magnifying glass (safely attached within the extra-thick front cover) is just a gimmick, for nothing is ever that small. But it is a pretty damned good book – the concept of broadening the seek-and-you-shall-find book to non-fiction proves itself a winner with this intelligent, varied and educational volume. I really thanked it for the spread of pirates it introduced me to – many of which I'd never come across before, and even just the reading side alone gave no small amount of minutes pleasure. Perfectly suited to both the home and the school library, this certainly comes recommended.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

For more pictorial quest books, we recommend Dinosaur Detective's Search-and-Find Rescue Mission by Sophie Guerrive. For pirates, there is The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook: A Guide to Swashbuckling with the Pirates of the Caribbean by Jason Heller, which is educational not just about the source films.

Buy Pirates Magnified: With a 3x Magnifying Glass by David Long and Harry Bloom at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Pirates Magnified: With a 3x Magnifying Glass by David Long and Harry Bloom at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Pirates Magnified: With a 3x Magnifying Glass by David Long and Harry Bloom at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Pirates Magnified: With a 3x Magnifying Glass by David Long and Harry Bloom at Amazon.com.


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