Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: Missing Treasure

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Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: Missing Treasure! By Giles Andreae, Illustrated by Russell AytoFlinn, a seemingly ordinary boy who likes pirates and dinosaurs, is on a school trip to see dinosaur skeletons at a museum. He and his friends are in awe of the huge skeleton of the giganotosaurus, which the guide tells them was even mightier than Tyrannosaurus Rex. They are also intrigued when the guide shows them an empty glass case from which Captain Rufus Rumblebelly’s treasure was stolen the night before.

Flinn and friends follow a trail of feathers and gold coins, thinking that it might hold a clue to the treasure. It leads them into a dark cupboard and, surprise surprise, the back of the cupboard falls away. The children find themselves in the cabin of a pirate ship where Rumblebelly’s grandson, Gordon Gurgleguts, has been tied up and left. He admits to having taken the treasure from the museum, but it was then stolen from him.

Gurgleguts appoints Flinn as captain of the ship, and off they set to Bag o’ Bones Island in search of the thieves and treasure. The culprits are of course the pirate dinosaurs, who manage to capture Gurgleguts and threaten to barbecue him. Tyrannosaurus Rex, however, remembers his previous encounter with Captain Flinn and brings on his fearsome cousin, Gigantosaurus. This huge monster is terrified of a tiny spider hanging from Flinn’s hat. Flinn seizes the opportunity to grab the treasure, free Gurgleguts and tie up the dinosaurs. It’s not long before they are heading back on the ship. At the museum, the guide is delighted to see the treasure returned, but there’s no way he’s going to believe in pirate dinosaurs.

“Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: Missing Treasure” is Giles Andreae’s sequel to Flinn’s first adventure when he vanquished Tyrannosaurus Rex. The idea of Flinn and his friends falling through the back of the cupboard not only has shades of C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, but is a repetition of the way the children found themselves on a pirate ship in the previous book. The story itself is, however, full of humour and excitement, and the ingredients of pirates, dinosaurs and lost treasure are bound to appeal to many young children.

“Although not a favourite picture book of mine, the humour and sense of adventure make this a story that three to five-year-olds will not be bored by.”

Giles Andreae has of course invented the giganotosaurus, and has included a friendly note before the story starts on the pronunciation of the name, breaking it down into six syllables. I think a fair few adults will appreciate this. “Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: Missing Treasure” is a great read-aloud adventure, but with lengthy dinosaur names and insults like “dastardly dunderheads”, it is not an ideal book for a child learning to read. Most of the text is in a large font, in fact some words and phrases are extra large for emphasis, but sometimes the font resembles handwriting. The text is superimposed on the illustrations, and in a few cases the background is a little dark.

Russell Ayto’s illustrations are wonderful and definitely bring the story to life. He uses vibrant reds, blues and yellows alongside more muted colours, and really goes to town with the characters. The dinosaurs have huge toothy grins and evil eyes, while Gurgleguts is a round body with stick-like limbs and tiny spotted handkerchief on his head. As in the previous book, there is a colourful cross-section of the pirate ship showing mice in hammocks, a bed with a skull bed-head, and a soppy Gurgleguts hugging one of the children goodbye.

The device of the back of the cupboard falling away to get the children onto a ship was disappointing in the first story and even more so when it was repeated in “Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: Missing Treasure”. Nevertheless, Giles Andreae has created an adventure story that most children, certainly boys, will love. The group of four-year-olds that I read it aloud to reacted to it with plenty of enthusiasm. One of the boys had the book at home and was able to recite a little song from the book as well as join in with a few other lines here and there. It was obviously a book that he had asked to have read to him again and again. Although not a favourite picture book of mine, the humour and sense of adventure make this a story that three to five-year-olds will not be bored by. Slightly older children may enjoy it too, but a young independent reader will probably find it quite challenging. Recommended for any fans of pirates and dinosaurs.

“Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: Missing Treasure”
By Giles Andreae (Author) and Russell Ayto (Illustrator)
Paperback, 32 pages, Puffin, 2008

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Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: Missing Treasure
by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto

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Written by frangliz
frangliz

I have a degree in Fine Art but never actually worked in that field. After almost two years in Paris, I moved to Cairo and spent many years there teaching English language and literature in schools. I came back to the UK in 1999 and now work with young children. I also tutor students of all ages in French, English or Maths. I enjoy writing reviews in my spare time; another hobby of mine is photography. I have two sons who are now grown up, both working in IT.

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