Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Salty Dogs by Matty Long (OUP / Oxford Children's Books)

"Another pirate book!" we sighed. "Another pirate book!" we cried. But this is a pirate book like no other...
For we embark upon the seven seas with Matty Long, author and illustrator of the "Super Happy Magic Forest" books - which we loved the idea of, if not so much the execution (they always felt like they needed more of a 'story' in amongst the abject fantasy flavoured chaos).

Matty turns his telescope to all subjects piratey in "Salty Dogs" and pups aren't the only animal characters out there scourging the ocean waves.

Nasty birds, horrid apes and a crew with a thoroughly rotten Narwhal. It's enough to make a dog turn to drink but thankfully only one of the Salty Dogs in this crew is obsessed with grog.

The poor Salty Dogs have hit on hard times though, and decide on one last daring mission to recover the treasure they buried as mere pups, hidden on the dangerous "Crossbones Island"

Unfortunately for the doggy crew, nasty simian charlatans also have their eyes on that treasure, and after unceremoniously sinking Captain Fifi's boat, the crew are left stranded - or are they? They must give it all they've got to fight those damned dirty apes and reclaim their booty (and perhaps bag a new boat into the bargain!)

This is much better stuff from Matty - he's retained the same delicious little details in every page spread and the comic asides and speech balloons, but underpinned the whole thing with a ticklish little story of friends banding together against adversity (and big stinky apes).

Glorious stuff. If you're not all pirated out, check this one out for sure.

Charlotte's best bit: When the poochy pirates pull a double switch on those rotten apes!

Daddy's favourite bit: We love Matty's artwork and it feels like he's finally hit his storytelling stride too. Great stuff.

"Salty Dogs" by Matty Long is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books (kindly supplied for review)

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