I have recently been sent a copy of this book for review. My first impressions - judging the book by it's cover - is that Captain Pug looks like a bit of a character. I also liked the blue and orange theme and feel it would be suited to both boys and girls.
The book is aimed at children who are 5 - 7 years of age. It has been written by Laura James and illustrated by Eglantine Ceulemans, published by Bloomsbury. The orange and blue theme continues in the illustrations throughout and was a welcome surprise when I first turned the pages, although it slightly reminded me of a text one might find from a 1970's classroom.
This didn't put me off though and I believe the book is the first Captain Pug story to be written in this newly illustrated series, in the orange and blue style.
The font is of a suitable size for an emergent reader and the vocabulary was suitable for a seven year old to read alone, but a five year old would probably need to have the text read to them unless they are quite bright. There are six chapters in the book and 124 pages with an illustration on almost every page. It's a 'grown up' style book for younger children just branching away from picture books.
The blurb on the back states:
Pug is going on a seafaring adventure. He's had jam tarts for breakfast. He's wearing a smart sailor suit. There's just one problem. Pug is afraid of the water!
I immediately wanted to find out what problems Pug would face and I wasn't disappointed by what I read. Pug is the pet of Lady Miranda and the pair are quite inseparable but...
I don't want to give too much of the plot away, but some of the highlights in the book are:
- Pug finds himself separated from Lady Miranda and all alone in the water - trapped in a picnic basket. His desire to find food is the reason for most of his trials and tribulations in the book.
- He has to battle to overcome his fear of water and does so with added humour - he finds himself as the captain at the helm of a rowing boat taking part in a competition. He guides them to the point of winning, with his barking, but something else distracts him and there is another twist in the tale.
Pug's thoughts and feelings are given throughout and the reader is taken in by how frightened he appears to be, but there is always an element of humour with how he is behaving in his quest to be a 'proper captain'.
All the while, Lady Miranda is having an adventure of her own trying to find Captain Pug.
It's a great book for teaching children about how they can overcome their fears one step at a time and the important message of keeping safe near water could also be discussed, if appropriate, with the child.
The illustrations really bring the story alive. Pug's facial expressions are really funny and the text is well explained as a result of them.
This book would be hard to put down for any budding seafarer.
*Book sent for review purposes - All opinions are my own.