Custardly Wart: Pirate (Third Class) (History of Warts) by Alan MacDonald
|Custardly Wart: Pirate (Third Class) (History of Warts) by Alan MacDonald|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: The latest ill-fortuned Wart family scion gets caught up in a pirate's hunt for treasure. The comedy works better than in the earlier volume I read, and this is certainly a recommendable lark.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: June 2008|
|Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
I have travelled 1,800 years in the last week. From picking the first Wart book, where Ditherus was in ancient Rome, Custardly is the focus of this second volume to be launched in the series, which still seems to want to grow to eight entries. This book starts off with him in a horrid Dickensian school, before some mysterious people arrive – allegedly wanting to teach the children, but certainly more intent on giving them their sea-dogs, kidnapping them, and using them to win some buried treasure.
Custardly, therefore, the hard-bitten boy living two-to-a-bed, with no sight of the sea from the school and with little experience of even going outside, gets to dress up in pirate costume, and help his best, brightest friend Dobbs, and the ridiculously silly and stupid Captain and Mr Mate, the first mate, to read the treasure map.
That's not as easy as it sounds, given the ridiculous IQ levels of the average pirate, according to this book. It's a pleasure to report the sense of humour here is a lot fresher than in the first title, and much better sustained. It's not just about the Captain wanting to whallop people, either – there are subtle gags that can appeal to those of varying age groups, and again they're evidently more successful than before.
The book relies on stereotype even more than the Roman one, where I lamented the fact that it wouldn't have taught anyone anything valuable, if even correct. Here the unlikely fantasy is continued throughout, and in fact we might just learn some things by the end of the book, courtesy of Dobbs.
The book continues to have a little sense of the gross-out, here towards the end in one particular location. The ending might be a little on the odd side, depending of course on your sensibilities and a lot more on your age. This series is best for the 6-9s, but would be about OK for those still needing to be read to.
To me, a lot older than 9 for sure, I still found it a flimsy whimsy providing some entertainment, and a greater amount than volume one, to repeat. I dropped any hope of finding something realistic in the story, given the settings, and I was rewarded with none – instead a gently quirky and comic fantasy for the littl'uns. For those to whom it is targeted I think this is a very pleasant little book, offering a healthy dose of sensibly silly comedy, nice inspiration for piratical play, and nothing in the way of nightmares. Again I doubt it becoming the most-thumbed favourite on the shelf, but this book is certainly worthy of a good rating from the Bookbag, together with a firm recommendation.
We would like to thank Bloomsbury for sending us a review copy.
For children as yet unable to read who are interested in pirates we recommend The Three Little Pirates by Georgie Adams and Emily Bolam whilst those reading on their own will enjoy Pirates by Geoffrey Malone.
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