My eight year old son was very excited to receive two books in the Steampunk Pirates series from Little Tiger Press/Stripes Publishers. As he said, he loves pirates and he loves robots so this was a great choice for him. These stories are intended for five to seven year olds but I think that these would be enjoyed by older and younger children too. My three year old daughter certainly enjoyed these stories being read to her. In my opinion, this series would be great for reluctant readers up to about ten years old.
The Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates: The Leaky Battery Sets Sail by Gareth P Jones (RRP: £5.99)
S really enjoyed this book. He loved that the robotic pirates were always on the lookout for gold. His favourite character was Captain Clockheart, who is, ‘unpredictable and dangerous on account of a loose valve sending too much steam to his head,’ according to his wanted poster. I particularly liked First Mate Mainspring, who clicked, ticked and tocked as he spoke and caused all sorts of mayhem when his clockwork mechanism was wound too tightly. My son really enjoyed the part of the story where, in the pirates’ quest for gold, Mr Gadge’s hand was turned into gold by Mr Goldman, who goldified it. My son found the language entertaining in this story and found it a really funny.
The Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates: Attack of the Giant Sea Spiders by Gareth P Jones (RRP: £5.99)
The Leaky Battery sailed for two days and two nights without incident. Pendle kept a close eye on Inkybeard the whole way. She didn’t like how much time he spent hanging around the ship’s engine, but she never caught him doing anything wrong. The wind was steady, the weather fair and, on the second morning, the call came from the crow’s nest, “Yo ho, down below! Land ahoy and cliffs ahead!”
First Mate Mainspring took control of the wheel and steered the ship towards the coastline, while Loosescrew and Wrench let out the jib to catch the wind and drive them in.
“Where’s this invisible cave, then?” asked Captain Clockheart.
“If you could see it, it wouldn’t be invisible,” replied Inkybeard. “Maintain the current course.”
A burst of scalding-hot steam erupted from Captain Clockheart’s head.
“Inkybeard, if this is a trick…”
“Oh, this is certainly a trick,” he interrupted, “and a good one. But it’s not one I can take credit for. Now, lower the Jolly Roger. Only unmarked ships enter this cave.”
“Lower the flag,” ordered Captain Clockheart. Pendle pulled on the rope and brought down the flapping skull and crossbones.
“Click, which way should I turn her?” asked First Mate Mainspring. “Tick, because if we stay on this course. Tock, we’ll hit those rocks.”
“Steady as she goes,” said Inkybeard. “Ready the cannons.”
Gadge spun round to face him. “All that squid ink has gone to your head, laddie, if you think we can blast our way through solid rock.”
“We’re not blasting our way through anything,” replied Inkybeard. “It’s only the sound of cannon fire that we need.”
“Captain, I strongly advise you to choose a different direction,” said Quartermaster Lexi. “At this speed, the damage would be disastrous, catastrophic … fatal.”
“We’re all going to die!” added Twitter. “We’re all going to die!”
Once he had completed the first book in the series, S was soon onto the next. Both stories were full of daftness and funny situations the rebellious robotic pirates found themselves in on their quests for gold and other rewards (err…mostly gold), with some ‘baddies’ to deal with along the way. S liked the lovely black and white illustrations, which he said helped him to imagine the pirates more.
S thinks that lots of girls and boys would really enjoy this story. He has already recommended this series to most of his classmates! Stories with pirates, robots, humour and adventure are always a big hit in our house. This series has all of those and more besides.
Gareth P Jones has written other stories, such as the Ninja Meerkats series and The Dragon Detective Agency series. We really enjoyed listening to the Pirate’s sea shanty from the story on Gareth’s website.
Disclosure: We were copies of the first two Steampunk Pirate books of the series, in return for this review. All opinions are honest and my own.