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The Legend of Captain Crow’s Teeth by Eoin Colfer
Published by Puffin, 2006.

Like the author, Will, aged nine, is one of five boys in the family. He is also the butt of his brother Marty’s constant teasing.

On their usual chaotic holiday in the cramped caravan off the Irish coast, Marty entertains his brothers with stories of the pirate Captain Crow, with a generous helping of blood and guts.

The ghost of this vicious pirate is said to wander the rocks searching for a nine year old cabin boy who sunk an axe in his forehead. The axe incidentally could never be fully removed and can be seen glinting from the pirate’s head to this day.

When poor Will is forced to walk across the rocks on his way home from his first disco a series of ghastly events befall him. He sees the rocks glowing underwater, hears his name called and is grabbed by an unseen hand in the scariest moment of his life.

This is an ideal Summer read for the newly confident reader. There’s plenty of humour in the 90 page long story which is broken by dialogue and some excellent black and white line drawings by Tony Ross. While appealing to a young reading age, the adventure, tension and lots of good fun will keep older readers turning the pages also. Family relationships are subtly explored as Marty, the trickster (and bully maybe) realises that being scared is horrible and has to turn to Will for help as he finally emerges as the hero.

“To categorise this book as merely a very funny, spooky story about five brothers would be unjust as the author subtly changes the dynamic of Will and Marty’s relationship in the final pages of the story.”

Rosemary Hetherington, Inis, the Children’s Books Ireland magazine, Summer 2006.

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