I had been waiting and waiting for the school holidays to begin, but now the first day had arrived, I was still waiting:
• waiting for Captain Clawbeak to fly home,
• waiting for Mildred Marlinspike’s eggs to hatch
, • waiting for Dad to launch his little pirate ship,
• waiting for Mum to have her baby,
• and waiting for rain.
Jack is sick of waiting. Mum and Dad are there but somewhat distracted by the imminent arrival of a new baby. Parrot Mildred, sitting on her nest has plenty to say about her absent mate, and most of it comes from a pirate ship. So when it seems that something has happened to his parrot, Captain Clawbeak, Jack and his friend Joey decide that it’s up to them to do something. Then a note arrives on the leg of a petrel and they know just what to do. Joey’s keen to use Dad’s pirate ship that Dad has banned them from boarding. Jack is swept along into an adventure on the high seas where pirates appear and disappear, parrots pale and he must deliver a secret letter. The sense of urgency increases as they discover just how much danger Captain Clawbeak is in. When Jack is cautious, Joey takes the lead. When Joey is scared, Jack steams full ahead. Along the way there are good ‘uns and bad ‘uns to meet and learn from.
Captain Clawbeak and the Ghostly Galleon is a rompin’, rollickin’ ripper read. The story breaks like a downpour after drought, sweeping from one challenge to another. The two main characters complement each other and demonstrate just how powerful a friendship can be. Captain Clawbeak’s personality looms large in his absence and his mate Mildred is no less impressive. Told in first person, Jack reveals his quite eccentric world and shares with the reader his family, friends and environment. Large print and monochrome illustrations from Wayne Harris on almost every page facilitate access to this humourous and fast-moving story for less confident readers. Pirate humour infects the story from start to finish, providing laughs for adults who might be reading to a child. Highly recommended for 7-9 year old readers, or younger children being read to.
Captain Clawbeak and the Ghostly Galleon, by Anne Morgan ill Wayne Harris
Random House 2008
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