CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 14. . . .December 6, 2013
Owen’s Pirate Adventure is the perfect tale for any children interested in pirates. They will easily relate to Owen who wants to be a pirate, read about pirates and play with pirates. One night he prays to be a pirate, and his prayer is answered. A group of appropriately ragtag pirates pull their ship up to his window and pull him out of bed. The ensuing adventure includes being attacked by a rival pirate ship, eyed hungrily by a giant sea monster and spit up into a grumpy cloud. When Owen decides he has had enough, his new friend, the sea monster, returns him home. The author and illustrator have done a good job of creating a balance of excitement and danger that will entertain young readers without frightening them.
The challenge with this type of story is having a credible plot that includes the child’s returning home. Here, the author has Owen realize that the pirate’s life is a little more adventure than he can handle, and so he chooses to return home. Children may be disappointed that Owen does not continue his adventure, but they will find it entirely believable.
The language is age appropriate and littered with supposedly typical pirate-speak, such as “shiver me timbers.” The text relies on capitalization for emphasis, as shown in the excerpt above. This approach might be to help compensate for somewhat flat descriptions. Although the story is fun, the writing is not the strongest element. The layout of the text is inspired by graphic novel conventions. Each page is a full bleed, and the text is clearly inserted wherever there was space for it on the page.
The images are colourful and pleasing. There are amusing additions to the illustrations, such as a cannonball hurtling towards Owen’s ship with the words “Have a nice day” written on it. The cartoon-like characteristics of the illustrations make the scenes involving sea monsters and pirates funny rather than scary.
The primary audience for this book is boys aged 4-7 who like pirates. While girls may also want to read about pirates, it is worth noting that the lone female character is Owen’s mother, who appears on the last page. As this type of oversight is most likely fairly common in pirate literature, it probably will not put off many readers. Due to both its subject matter and male characters, Owen’s Pirate Adventure would also be a good recommendation for boys who are not typically drawn to fiction.
Sophia Hunter is a teacher-librarian at Crofton House School in Vancouver, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.