Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Pirate Apprentices and Young Adults
The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods
While searching for “zing” for his mother’s mulligan stew, twelve-year-old Eric Stewart discovers an object that looks like a hubcap. Burned into the wood is “a charred skull and crossbones.” Thus begins Eric’s career as a pirate tracker. The clues lead him closer to the pirates’ trail, but soon after he confides in Grampa Joe, they disappear. Eric can’t locate any piece of evidence that will bring him face to face with these ruffians.
Although he listens to Eric’s tale of pirates, Joe remains skeptical. At least until they show up in his yard! These loud, stinking, rude pirates rummage through his things, which is how they discover his hiding place.
Captain Hector “ The Wrecker” Gristle, whose dreadlocks resemble snakes, leads The Dread Crew. They’re a motley (and sometimes disgusting) group of thugs that include: First Mate Vincent the Vile, Jury-Rigger Wedgie Reggie, Navigator Screemin’ Meena, Machinist Funky Phezekiah, Coxswain Fetchin’ Gretchen, Brute Ewsula the Barbarian, Brute Famous Amos, Brute Ironbound Ike, Of Knotjack Cranky Franky, Huckster Ill Willie, Logdrive Johnnie Golden, Slopjack Zeke the Greek, and Gunner Slimebucket Sam. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police file warns that should you find yourself in their vicinity, you should RUN!
All seems lost until Dread Crew decides to destroy Joe’s cabin for the priceless logs – this junk will bring a hefty dividend once it’s sold from the T.H.U.G.S.S.’s union depot. But Joe has no intention of letting them destroy his home, especially since he salvages, too, and knows the law. In the ensuing argument, he stumbles into his work shed, and once the pirates how much is inside, the captain invites him to join the crew. In return, Joe will teach them how to gain bigger hauls of junk, although his way is about as far away from how the pirates do it as two opposites can get.
But time is running out for the Dread Crew, for they have been evading their union, and sooner or later, if caught, they’ll suffer a fate worse than death! Will Eric relocate the pirates’ trail? Will Joe succeed in teaching the junkers a better way to gain their treasure? And how will he do so? Or will the T.H.U.G.S.S. representatives catch them first?
Written for children, this book will appeal to boys and girls, and even adults. I dare anyone who reads the back blurb not to open the book’s pages and read and read and read until the story ends.
This book is RECOMMENDED for ANTSY boys who long for glory, for SPRITELY girls inclined to read for ADVENTURE, and for GOOD-HUMORED grown-ups who like the smack of Limburger and devil’s club sandwiches with a dash of June bug pepper.
This single sentence provides a hint of the adventure, humor, and yuckiness to come.
It’s a refreshing, unique pirate story that will delight and gross out readers. And it was a delight to find these pirates don’t “Arrrgh!” They have their own version that makes them different, yet very much like, pirates who scavenge the seas for treasure. The Dread Crew is a treasure itself – one that will be a favorite for many for years to come.
Review Copyrighted ©2010 Cindy Vallar
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