Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Sneakiest Pirates & The Heroes of Googley Woogley by Dalton James

As a kid, did you ever dream of writing and illustrating your on book? I did. Actually, I had my own little series of books that I wrote and illustrated back in elementary school. They were about a family of bears. Sure they might sound like a rip off of Stan and Jan Bearanstain's series, but I promise you that was not the case. (*laugh*) Either way, though, it's all a mute point because those storybooks never went farther than the copy or blue lined school paper they were printed on. So, while I do still have them today, they are no more likely to be read by anyone outside my immediate family than they were intially.

Now Dalton James, on the other hand, did not let his age stand in the way of his aspirations. Last year, at only seven years of age, Dalton wrote and illustrated his first book, The Sneakiest Pirates, for publication through Outskirts Press, Inc. Then only a few months ago, Dalton, now eight, released his second book, The Heroes of Googley Woogley. Dalton advises readers to be prepared because he's not done yet. There's yet a third book slated for release in this series, and still others in the works that are completely unrelated to this set.

I would like to note that I've seen it mentioned that these books are geared towards children ages 9-12, but truthfully I think anyone from age 5-9 would be more within range. It's true that a five year old might not be able to read all of the words on his own, but I belive he would be able to fully understand the story if it was read to him. Likewise, a twelve year old would have certainly no trouble reading the books, but I wonder if maybe the subject matter/style/length wouldn't be just a bit beneath someone of this age. However you look at it though, young readers of all ages will enjoy knowing someone close to their own age wrote these frolicsome and adventurous anecdotes. The stories are short, but they're fun and full of imagination.

The Sneakiest Pirates by Dalton James
Geared Towards: Ages 5-9
Published By: Outskirts Press, Inc
Publication Date: May 20, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4327-2477-1

It is obvious that this book was not penned or illustrated by a professional, but that's what gives it it's charm. The simplistic storytelling and pictures really bring alive the idea that this book was born of a child's creativity and not of someone with a literary degree under their belt. In that, it's refreshing and genuinely inspiring.

In the story of The Sneakiest Pirates Pirate Pete and his daddy Scurvy James follow the contemptible Peg Leg Chuck as he steals and later buries the king's gold. Peg Leg Chuck, being so consumed with getting away from the king's ships, never even realizes that he himself is being robbed. Rapt with greed themselves, Pirate Pete and Scurvy James then go head to head over the new found treasure.

OUR RATING: 4 hearts

The Heroes of Googley Woogley by Dalton James
Geared Towards: Ages 5-9
Published By: Outskirts Press, Inc
Publication Date: March 22, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4327-2782-6

Having gone a long way with the money they stole from Pirate Peg Leg Chuck, Pirate Pete and Scurvy James are back. Known only as Rock Star Pete and Rock Star James, this father/son duo is ready for another rip roaring adventure. But instead of racing across the salty seas as they did when we first met them in book one, Pete and James are now rearing to soar the skies in their brand new spaceship.

Once in space, Space Boy Pete and Space Man James decide that instead of doing naughty pirate-like things they'd rather help people in danger. Upon picking up a satellite message from the residents of the planet Googley Woogley, Space Boy Pete and Space Man James rush to their aid. It seems there are two kinds of aliens living on Googley Woogley, and they don't get along. The SooDos are friendly and compassionate. The SooDonts are not. The SooDos enjoy helping one another and living peacefully. The SooDonts, however, enjoy pilaging and destroying everyone and everything around them.

Before they can return to Earth, Space Boy Pete and Space Man James must figure out how to help the SooDos overcome the mean and nasty SooDonts and bring tranquility back to the people of Googley Woogley.

OUR RATING: 4 hearts

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