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Captain McGrew Wants You for his Crew!

This colorful, humorous picture book entertains the reader from the front cover. A rather evil but smiling pirate, Captain McGrew is pointing his finger to lure us into the book. The first full colour, double spread page shows four children and their cat, eagerly checking out the “Help Wanted”, poster. The illustrations show this to be an action packed read that can be acted out, or read in parts. As the ship leaves the shore, the happy crew wave goodbye to Mum, and prepare for a life of adventure on the sea.

The rhyming text tells us, “You mustn’t be little and you mustn’t be big, but just the right size to get up the rig”. The children are shown happily climbing and are the first to shout “Land Ahoy.” Now there is treasure to be found, but someone must dig for it. The Captain lies in the shade of a tree while the young crew digs and digs under the hot sun. The first grumpy faces have appeared, as the Captain demands freshly squeezed lemonade. It is very hot now, and even though the treasure chest has been discovered, the children have to carry it and the Captain back to the ship.

Regular chores are now begun. Washing the poop deck, battening down the hatches, and firing the cannons are tasks learned and executed by the smiling children. When it comes to cooking octopus stew in the galley, serving the captain his meal, and washing dishes after, we can see that the novelty of this job is wearing off. The next job to be completed is for the children to walk the plank with a broom, jump over the side, and scrub the underside of the ship. All this while a shark circles the group…..

Perhaps this is not the glamorous job the children thought it might be, and so they decide to leave the ship. Besides, they have just read a sign on land which says,

There’s a knight here called Norman

  who’s been looking for knaves!”

What a stimulating story this is to read with young children.  The colourful illustrations complement the rhyming text beautifully, and the developing awareness of the children that this is not such a cool job after all, is quite amusing. However, the enthusiasm with which they tackle their work is exemplary.

The text font is a larger size, with many words in block capitals to emphasize their importance. This is possibly not so much a bedtime reading book, as one that precedes a great deal of planning and thought on pocket money job prospects.

Authorillustrated by Ed Eaves and Mark Sperring
ReleasedFebruary 2017