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  • Writer's pictureJake Evanoff

Book Review: The Pirates Pete: The Kraken

With Star Ship Reviews, our goal is to bring attention to some of the wonderful independent authors and illustrators out there. For this week's entry, we'll be looking at "The Pirates Pete: The Kraken" Written by Michael Hull and Illustrated by James Lewis.

The Pirates Pete: The Kraken Michael Hull

The Artists:

Michael Hull was born in the UK where he currently lives with his wife and 2 kids.

He's always loved creating, trying his hand at all kinds of things from making apps, games, animations, photography, film, music, anything really that sparks his imagination. When he's not working at his day job as a Previs VFX artist for film and TV, or spending time with his family- creating something new is what he likes to do. (And rhyming apparently)

James Lewis hails from the UK but currently calls Hong Kong his home, where he lives with his wife, his two boys and his two ragdoll mogs. He has always had a passion for art and creativity, doodling on a Saturday morning with his Rice Krispies as a kid to doodling on a Saturday morning with his Rice Krispies as a fully grown man. Having worked in film VFX for almost 20 years he is currently taking a break to get his hands dirty and explore his first love of fine art and oil painting. The next Pirates Pete book may even be done in the style of Rembrandt (joke…or is it!?)

The Story:

"Let's set sail with the Pirates Pete it's sure to be a hoot! "Anchors aweigh!" - no time to lose, They're off in search of loot!

Captain Pete, Big Pete, Skinny Pete and Parrot Pete (yes they're all called Pete!) embark on another hilarious quest in search of treasure. But things go wrong when they accidentally upset The Kraken!"

The Review:

Overall I really enjoyed The Pirates Pete: The Kraken. From its whimsical rhyming scheme to its humorous illustrations, it's a fun story all around.

We start off with a quick introduction to our four pirates, all named Pete! They set sail on their voyage in search of treasure but their adventure comes to a sudden halt when they accidentally run into a Kraken. To prevent the Kraken from turning the pirates into a personal charcuterie board, the four must work together to prepare a proper meal in exchange for their freedom. After some silly banter, the pirates finally present the Kraken with their less-than-appetizing cake creation. Fortunately, the Kraken loves it and decides to let the pirates go. In the end even though they didn't uncover any physical treasure, Captain Pete realizes that the treasure of love and friendship is worth so much more. I would definitely recommend the book to any pirate-loving children in your life!

I think the illustrations work perfectly with the story being told. Each pirate has a really unique look and the imagery of Skinny Pete's clothes accidentally getting blended into the cake mix is just great!

The Mini Interview:

To wrap things up, we've asked Michael to answer three quick questions for us!

What was your inspiration for the story?

My son was in a bit of a pirate phase, and books that made him laugh really encouraged his reading. James had shown me some Pirate doodles he’d done and some really nice sunny island scenes as an idea for a kids show. As a way to think about the characters and what they might get up to I had the idea to do the story on the commute to work. In fact I think I wrote all of it on my commute! So the main reason was that I wanted to make a fun story that I knew would make my son laugh and that we could enjoy together.

Now that I have 2 kids who both love their bedtime stories and enjoy the book, it seemed like a good idea to try and publish it so that other kids could enjoy it too.

What was your favorite book growing up?

I can't say there was any one particular book that sticks in my memory as there were always quite a few books kicking around at home, but I always enjoyed Greek Myths & Legends and anything with action, adventure and monsters really. Fighting Fantasy books really hooked me later on, I remember getting a lot of them from the library. I think because the idea of an interactive book was quite novel and exciting, like sneakily playing a video game while people though you were reading!

What piece of advice would you give to aspiring children’s authors?

As this is my first ever book I'm not really sure I'm in any position to dish out advice, but what I would say is if you think you could do it, and you've got an idea, why not have a go?

I had a lot of fun writing it and coming up with the ideas. I would say that reading it to my kids while I was writing it really helped to figure out what made them laugh, and this in turn means it'll probably go down well with others their age. Unless they were just being nice...

The Links:

If you'd like to grab your own copy of the book, it can be purchased here:

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