Review Blog

Jul 15 2011

Pirate diary: journal of a cabin boy by Richard Platt

cover image

Illus. by Chris Riddell, Walker Books, 2011. ISBN 9781 406330601.
(Ages 10+) Picture book. Recommended. A reprint of the graphic story of Jake Carpenter, which first published in 2000, will delight readers again with its tales of a young boy, setting out on a ship as cabin boy with his uncle, the captain, being over taken by pirates. Being a merchant seaman was all Jake wanted in life, and the first part of the book tells the  reader all about the ship and its provisioning, its life and the work he and the others do. But when taken over by pirates, life changes markedly.
Full of information and interesting detail, the story of Jake carpenter rings true, as the pirate ship goes about its business and avoids capture, eventually coming to shore when an amnesty is declared. Life in 1776 is boldly envisaged and the story will intrigue many readers, intent on learning about he life of a pirate, but also of a young man caught up in a world he did not want. The last few pages are devoted to factual accounts of piracy and Jake's world, with maps and an index. A great book for reading alone or with a group, or using in the classroom for a 'true' account of a pirate or as part of a literature circle, along with the range of novels written about this subject.
Fran Knight
Editor's note: Winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Blue Peter Book Awards: Best Book with Facts. Pat Pledger

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