The Popcorn Pirates
Alexander McCall Smith
"The inhabitants of the Popcorn Islands lead a peaceful and comfortable existence - that is, until pirates attack Captain Foster's ship on its way to America and steal half the popcorn harvest. So Lucy, Hermione and Sam offer to accompany the captain and his dog Biscuit on the next trip to keep a lookout for danger. But danger is exactly what they run into! Now the pirates aren't just after more popcorn ...they want new recruits too! Will three children - and one small dog - defeat the greediest gang of grub-guzzling pirates ever to sail the high seas? It's going to be an EXPLOSIVE adventure!"
The best children’s books are the ones that an adult can have fun reading too. It’s a fine line to walk but many have done it well, providing a story suitable for the young audience but with a joke or two that keep the adult interested, allowing them to genuinely enjoy the book and provide an opportunity to bond with the child they’re reading it to.
It’s a bonus, not essential though. What I would say is essential though, is that the book be enjoyable to the children it’s aimed at and sadly, I’m not sure if this would be.
I found this book a little heartless. The story was very basically written, without much flourish in the text and little to nothing in the way of humour.
It felt somewhat like a first draft. The story you might write to block out the story before going in and adding in those little flourishes that make a story enjoyable.
I’m sure there’ll be people reading this and thinking that I’m being too harsh, or that I’m taking it too seriously. After all it’s only a children’s book.
I don’t think this is a valid excuse. Just because children aren’t viewed as intelligent as grown ups doesn’t mean that you can just rattle off any old tale and expect them to enjoy it. They still deserve clever, inventive storytelling and sadly that’s not what I got from this book.
Obviously I’m not a five year old and, perhaps, if you gave this book to a five year old they would enjoy it. All I can say is that I don’t think I would have had much attachment to this story if I had read it as a child. I can’t imagine it would have stayed with me in the same way that my favourite childhood stories did.