Thursday, 3 October 2013

Here Be Monsters by Jonathan Emmett and Poly Bernatene (Macmillan Children's Books)

Here Be Monsters

Written by Jonathan Emmett

Illustrated by Poly Bernatene

Published by
Macmillan Children's Books

Two subjects are guaranteed to illicit gasps of delight from Charlotte when she opens a new book parcel. Monsters and Pirates, so imagine how delighted she was when Jonathan Emmett and Poly Bernatene's new book turned up. It blends both together perfectly, kicking off by introducing us to a scurvy and snarling band of pirates who, under the command of a harsh fox captain, will stop at nothing to get their hands on treasure!

Everyone will undoubtedly have a favourite character, mine was the fabulous jowly bulldog ship's cook Findus Spew while Charlotte couldn't resist the devilish charms of Captain Cut-Throat himself!

Off on their quest for booty they sail, despite the dire warnings about the treasure-filled island that they set their sights on. When the mist starts rolling in, enveloping their ship in a sinister fog, the crew suddenly realise their folly - but the Captain snarls, sets his sails and grimly continues on!

Here's why we loved this - these pirates don't mess around, in fact they're a fairly unlikeable bunch as pirates should be (I say unlikeable but we LOVED the characters, they're the real deal!) Jonathan's rhyming text is perfectly pitched, and Poly's utterly fantastic artwork practically leaps off the page. Look out for his utterly wonderful map at the start of the book.

In places it reminded us of Jonny Duddle's awesome "The Pirate Cruncher" (in fact you'd swear at least one of the monsters that menace the crew was a sneaky cameo) but just when you thought the children's book market was full to bursting with far too many pirate books, along comes one that has all the brilliant elements that are vital to a good salty yarn.

Definitely do not miss Jonathan's brilliant website for the book, including a rather fab card game to print out and play:

...and while you're about it, landlubbers, here's the man himself (with his fab "Poly Parrot") to tell you a little more about the book!

Charlotte's best bit: Eggs are eggs except when they're....!

Daddy's Favourite bit: A brilliant jaunty tale, fabulous artwork and a sneering snarling cut-throat pirate captain (our favourite sort). Fabulous stuff, yo ho!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Macmillan Children's Books)