Friday 15 September 2017

ReadItDaddy's Second Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 15th September 2017 - "Pirates Magnified" by Professor David Long and Harry Bloom (Wide Eyed Editions)

A pirate book? In our Book of the Week Slot? SMOKE AND BLAZES! But this is something rather special indeed...
Don't worry, we haven't been indulging in illicit grog, or tapping the ship's rum supplies, we really have found a pirate book that's worthy of a chestful of booty, and our highest accolade.

"Pirates Magnified" by Professor David Long and Harry Bloom does something that very few pirate-based kids books do.

It dips into history, in exquisite detail. So much detail in fact that you'll need a magnifying glass to find it all (so it's pretty fortunate that one is provided tucked inside the cover of this amazing book!)

Part "Where's Wally" style spotting book, but all the more interesting to us for an entirely different reason - that history hook - "Pirates Magnified" should really be called "Pirates Magnificent!" instead.

Black Caesar. Just one of the bloodthirsty real-life brigands you'll learn about in this fascinating book. 
In here, you'll learn about real-life buccaneers who plundered the riches of the seven seas (and in one case, even inland waterways) to line their pockets with lovely gold and jewels, or valuable spices and commodities.

I was completely bowled over to finally see a children's book listing not just the usual pirates such as Blackbeard, but some of the more obscure ones such as Black Caesar and Henry Avery (the latter, an astonishing figure in history in his own right, who formed an allegiance of pirates and even his own colony deep in the Caribbean islands - Fans of the "Uncharted" games on Playstation will know exactly who I'm talking about here).

I rather like the fact that Sir Francis Drake also gets a mention - for, let's face it, being nothing short of a royally endorsed pirate who plundered the Spanish Main mostly for the crown but also for his own gain.

Each page spread layers on the amazing histories of these fantastically fiendish folk with exquisitely detailed illustrations urging you to find all the hidden characters and scenes. Later on in the book you'll find even more spotting challenges listed too (which are devilishly tricky, so again you'll make good use of your magnifying glass, young whippersnappers!)

This book is fantastic, and we've long said that even though pirate books are pretty much mined out in fiction titles, there's still a ton of potential for non-fiction titles based on real life pirates. So far this is easily one of the most impressive we've seen. Utterly wonderful stuff.

Charlotte's best bit: Spotting some of the crazy antics of the various octopoids in this book (look out for 'em!)

Daddy's favourite bit: Hooray! At last, a fantastic non-fiction pirate title that's still tons of fun, and hugely original too. Brilliance in book form!

(kindly supplied for review)

"Pirates Magnified" by Professor David Long and Harry Bloom is out now, published by Wide Eyed Editions.