The Pirate Cruncher by Jonny Duddle

pirate cruncher

The Pirate Cruncher
Jonny Duddle
Templar Books, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4876-3
FORMAT: Picture Books
AGES: Elementary School
4 Stars

An old fiddler started singing about a huge treasure in a town with loads of pirates. Of course a group of pirates decided to go in search for said treasure. Even though the fiddler warned that this particular treasure was VERY dangerous to look for. But off the pirates went. While on the pirate ship, the fiddler started telling them more and more about the treasure (basically how it was even more dangerous to get than before). Apparently this treasure was guarded by a monster that ate pirates like snacks. Some of the pirates began wondering if they should turn back. But the pirate captain was especially greedy and decided to keep going…even after one of the pirate crew disappeared. Finally the pirates see the island with the treasure. And sure enough there is a large monster that is guarding it (the “island” is part of the monster after all). And all the pirates get eaten. Except for the fiddler. Who turns out to be the monster’s marionette…complete with strings. The fiddler then goes off to “sing” the tale about the treasure once more…

This is a funny tale, and there are so many great details in the illustrations. For example, the fiddler always has strings on him…but they aren’t as noticed until the end of the story. (Until you understand the end and then go back, then they are more prominent.) Elementary school kids will be especially delighted to see the cunning of the monster in finding his own meals. And the details of the crew and their changing reactions is pretty funny (if you aren’t too attached to pirates). Basically this is one of those stories that kids who feel the urge to cheer for the clever bad-guy will enjoy this one.

Book Discussion Questions:
When did you first notice that the fiddler was a marionette?
Why didn’t the pirates decide to turn around, after the fiddler told them about all the danger?
What do you think about the plan of the monster?
Why do you suppose the monkey and the parrot escaped?

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