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The story is set around Nosy Boraha, Pirate Island and Madagascar. Susan Brownrigg introduces some real people: Captain Blackbeard, (Edward Teach), William Kidd, and Israel Hands, who in the book is Kintana’s father. Many of the animals mentioned are native to Madagascar –an island that has 25,000 different species, many of which are only found there.
We also have the normal ingredients of a pirate story; treasure, parrots and a man with a wooden leg.
There is plenty of pace. The story just does not stop moving. The chapters are also short, almost all ending with a cliff-hanger.
There is also a domestic story of a sound relationship between a father and daughter who spend their time looking after animals and managing a pet shop. Kintana also befriends the naïve cabin boy, Bartholomew.
The book is 174 pages long. The text is blocked but double-spaced. The font, Kingfisher 10 -16, has a serif. It is actually small in the book. At the front of the book there are sketch maps of the two islands. There are also monochrome pictures of eight of the animals. Each chapter heading has a monochrome picture of a parrot and a skull and cross bones.
At the end of the book there are a useful glossary, a note from the author about some of the facts in the story, an author bio and some acknowledgments. These may be of more interest to adults than the chid reader though the glossary may be helpful to the young reader.