Tuesday 14 August 2018

"Cook's Cook" by Gavin Bishop (Gecko Press)

As a kid, I was always fascinated by tales of explorers - who put to sea in sailing ships to explore our planet...
These amazing pioneering people often put up with incredible hardships on their journeys across the world, to the farthest reaches.

Regardless of your view of the ethics of exploration and colonisation, these stories are fascinating (and sometimes quite harrowing to read).

Gavin Bishop's amazing children's book "Cook's Cook - The Cook Who Cooked for Captain Cook" focuses on a really brilliant anecdotal account of Captain James Cook's amazing journey to Australia and New Zealand, from the perspective of John Thompson, the curmudgeonly ships cook, brought along for the voyage.

In 1768 Cook's crew set out on a journey on board H.M.S. Endeavour. Through creative storytelling, Thompson's account (dotted with some truly grim / incredible recipes from his repertoire) touches on the main details of this amazing voyage.  Each story fragments off into another as the crew encounter the true hardships of a very long time at sea, from ill health and scurvy to the dangers posed by the tempestuous ocean and weather.

Thompson's account, coming from 'the lowest of the low' on board ship actually tells a far richer and more class-oriented story than the history books do. 

Here are stories of social class, hierarchy and race; stories of explorers and the people of the land; the story of one of the world's most famous explorers told through a fresh pair of eyes. 

This beautiful book is full of information drawn from extensive research alongside evocative illustrations, released to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the Endeavour's journey.

It really is something quite special and original, and if your children are similarly amazed by tales of the great explorers, this is absolutely essential. 

C's best bit: The crew turning their nose up at eating Shark (shark is actually very tasty!)

Daddy's favourite bit: Amazing stories of the hardships on board the Endeavour. 

"Cook's Cook, the cook who cooked for Captain Cook" by Gavin Bishop is out now, published by Gecko Press.