The Pirate Cruncher
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The Pirate Cruncher

4.6 3
by Jonny Duddle

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A hilarious picture book debut has a scurvy crew setting off for an island of gold, where an unexpected development awaits under the final flap.

I was sailing along and what did I see?
An island of GOLD in the scurvy sea!
But there’s one small thing I forgot to share —
there’s also a MONSTER waiting there.

A mysterious old pirate


A hilarious picture book debut has a scurvy crew setting off for an island of gold, where an unexpected development awaits under the final flap.

I was sailing along and what did I see?
An island of GOLD in the scurvy sea!
But there’s one small thing I forgot to share —
there’s also a MONSTER waiting there.

A mysterious old pirate tells a tavern of salty seadogs about an island bursting with hidden treasure. But once they set sail, he also mentions that it is guarded by the terrible Pirate Cruncher. When the pirates’ greed gets the better of their fear, there’s a big surprise in store!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Duddle's debut launches a boatload of silliness, as Captain Purplebeard and his crew of babbling, bumbling pirates set sail in search of treasure. Galvanized by a skeletal fiddler's chantey about “an island of gold,” the pirates ignore his warning that “none who've tried to set foot on its sands/ have ever returned to pirate lands.” Most have second thoughts when the fiddler adds that they're apt to encounter a pirate-eating beast, but the greedy captain is undeterred: “Any cowardly landlubbers will be tossed in the sea./ The only thing you should be scared of is me!” Boisterous, flashy digital illustrations (the entire book could be a storyboard for an animated short film) are paired with b&w line drawings (in thought balloons), which present the apprehensive crew members' outlandish imaginings of the bloodthirsty creature. The page showing the pirates' landing folds down to reveal that the island is actually the very top of a sharp-toothed, octopus-like monster, who gobbles the pirates with a loud “crunch!” Though the verse's rhythm is occasionally rocky, the pirates' humorous chatter and the art's exuberance more than compensate. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Even before the title page, we are invited as fellow pirates to follow a map and claim a prize. The adventure begins on a dark night on the docks. Inside an inn, dastardly Captain Purplebeard and his crew are intrigued by the song of an old fiddler. Displaying a map, the fiddler promises to take them to a treasure island. Off they sail, as the captain scorns the mention of a monster that eats both pirates and ships. Told in alternating jolly rhymes and speech balloons, the tale gradually reveals the menace awaiting the greedy captain at the end of the voyage. The pirates and their ship have a digitally-created sculpturesque solidity to them; somber blues and browns produce the desired melodramatic aura in the prologue and the scenes at sea. Line drawings on white backgrounds show the horrible dreams of the crew; the top of an octopus-like arm intruding in early scenes gives fair warning of the reality of these dreams. A foldout page displays the dramatic scene of the bug-eyed monster with tooth-filled mouth agape, followed by a double-page "CRUNCH!" as it swallows pirates and all. On the final spread, we see a lifeboat with a parrot and the old man—who seems to be a marionette manipulated by the sated monster—plus an enigmatic sign stating "the END?" This is great scary fun. The map is also available on the endpages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—The dastardly Captain Purplebeard and his greedy crew are on the track of "…a shipload of treasure!...Diamonds and rubies and gold beyond measure…." They set sail in their ship, The Black Hole, following a mysterious fiddle player (are those strings on his arms and legs?) who has a treasure map. Heedless of the subsequent verses of the fiddler's song, which warn of some sort of monster "pirate cruncher," the motley crew also disregards certain other strange happenings and perseveres to their ultimate end. Their fate is told mostly in rollicking but sometimes uneven rhymed text. The striking illustrations in bold colors are digitally rendered with great effect, delineating each individual pirate and slyly hinting at the surprise that's coming—visual clues that every self-respecting pirate lover will delight in pointing out knowledgeably after the first reading. An amusing book to savor and enjoy.—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Kirkus Reviews
Avast there! As everyone knows-and greedy Captain Purplebeard and his scurvy crew find out, to their cost-no treasure comes without its little hazards. Or big, fatal ones, as the climactic gatefold in this extravagantly illustrated cautionary tale reveals. Lured (literally, as it turns out) by an appropriately loose-jointed fiddler, Purplebeard and his hearties-every gold ring, elaborate tattoo and snaggly brown tooth limned in lapidary detail in Duddle's digital paintings-eagerly set sail to a doom that, to sharp-eyed observers, is telegraphed from the first page on. As a versifier the author makes a talented visual artist ("THERE IS ONE SMALL THING I FORGOT YESTERDAY- / THERE'S ALSO A MONSTER, OR SO THEY SAY"), but the visual treasure begins on the endpapers, and young lubbers of every stripe will happily climb aboard his lavish, high-style, picture-book debut. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.08(w) x 11.56(h) x 0.45(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Jonny Duddle is a debut author-illustrator whose fantastic artwork is also gathering fans in the film and computer game sectors. He lives in Buxton, England.

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The Pirate Cruncher 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A kids book even I love reading. Enough said.
JenAtMentorTexts More than 1 year ago
I disagree that this book is for infants or children in preschool! This story is actually really complex and could be used with elementary students through high school students. It has a lot going on and can be used to teach so many different things like how to treat other people, stereotypes, and tone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago