The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook: A Guide to Swashbuckling with the Pirates of the Caribbean by Jason Heller

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The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook: A Guide to Swashbuckling with the Pirates of the Caribbean by Jason Heller

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Buy The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook: A Guide to Swashbuckling with the Pirates of the Caribbean by Jason Heller at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Much better than the average film tie-in book, this offers a lot to the wannabe buccaneer, and does not simply try and sell the DVDs.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: May 2011
Publisher: Quirk Books
ISBN: 978-1594745041

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You don't see pirates reading many books. If you ask me, it's because their hooks make the pages hard to turn. Of course, the salty damp air would do nothing for a book's longevity, just one more reason to make sure you've read and understood this before you take to the ocean wave and set sail on your adventures.

This serves as a very exhaustive look at piracy - and no, as the only concession to modernity in here says, we don't mean the downloading type. It lifts us easily from real life historical pirates of old to every aspect of life we'd face when we were in the illicit launches ourselves. What it doesn't do is thrust the Pirates of the Caribbean movies down our throat - in this book, Captain Jack Sparrow is one of the legendary characters involved, and we see his exploits referred to lightly (if slightly repetitively), and not in the hard-hitting, DVD-and-chapter cashing-in way I was expecting.

It is also a lot more academic than I'd assumed. The author certainly covers a lot of ground (or wave), and everything, from rigging, boarding an enemy boat, and even passing yourself off as a pirate of the opposite gender is all itemised in the lengthy expanded bullet-point format. There's the extreme - tattooing treasure maps on your back, and the more likely - swabbing the deck. Heller covers serious factors (parrots were shoulder-garments due to the obvious wealth they would have garnered only when finally sold to a European menagerie) and the more frivolous (they also made for great alibis when caught talking to yourself).

It does need a further look, at times - does one really dodge a blockade as such? Blackbeard becomes blue then back again in one paragraph. In the chapter on how to cuss like a pirate we learn the definition of bilge-rat, many pages before bilge. Which brings me to the only major flaw as such here - the language can be very high-faluting. When did a child near you "comport"? To quote it at its worst - "the right of parlay... was designed to keep pirates caught in extenuating circumstances from completely obliterating one another". You what now?

So if we here at the Bookbag were to split our children's non-fiction titles by age, the vocabulary here would definitely make it a teen read, when this should have been made easier for what we term confident readers. This would have opened up this volume, which has a great scope, brilliant production values and a good sense of humour, to more readers. It deserves them, for when I expected a flimsy, large-format series of pictures from the films to reach my doormat, the Book Reviewing Gods had something much more satisfying, value-for-money and lasting in mind.

I must thank the nice Quirk Books people for my review copy.

If you wish to remain land-locked, a life of subterfuge and daring can still be had - try Mysterious Messages - A History of Codes and Ciphers by Gary Blackwood, or Crimebusters by Clive Gifford. If it's the water that appeals then have a look at Go Green! A Young Person's Guide to the Blue Planet by Claudia Myatt, the best book about all things water that we've seen.

Buy The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook: A Guide to Swashbuckling with the Pirates of the Caribbean by Jason Heller at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook: A Guide to Swashbuckling with the Pirates of the Caribbean by Jason Heller at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook: A Guide to Swashbuckling with the Pirates of the Caribbean by Jason Heller at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook: A Guide to Swashbuckling with the Pirates of the Caribbean by Jason Heller at Amazon.com.

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