Penny Morrison (text), Gabriel Evans (illus.), Captain Sneer the Buccaneer, Walker Books Australia, 1 Sept 2016, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9781922179609
He may be the Captain, he may be after the gold, but we know Sneer the Buccaneer is not really all that bold. Fun rhyming will delight children ages three and over and engage them in this rollicking adventure full of action and surprises.
While Miss Five and I are enjoying this book now, it took a few reads for us to embrace it, and appreciate the layered storytelling. We also realised I had forgotten the most important element of pirate story telling: a hearty ol’ piratey accent, yarrr!
The illustrations are a combination of pencil, watercolour and gouache and invoke the wildness of the open waters – the wind, spray and the weather. They also tell their own tale; one that’s entirely different to what the Captain would have you believe. The more you explore the pictures, the more you find. The illustrations show us Captain’s Sneer’s brave demeanour is all an act. Though technically in charge, he is the most clueless of all. The hardworking crew is tolerant and loyal towards their boastful captain.
While he’s not the bravest (or the smartest), good ol’ Captain Sneer certainly has a positive outlook. A fun read to share together, the tale of Captain Sneer the not-quite-as-brave-as-he-thinks Buccaneer is best read aloud. Oh, and don’t forget to use your best pirate voice.
Reviewed by Fiona Miller-Stevens