A child’s imagination is a wonderful thing, they can lose themselves in make believe worlds of pirates, princess, superheroes and unicorns or whatever else their young minds can dream up for hours at a time.
The Captain No Beard series of picture book stories, by award-winning children’s author Carole P. Roman, are all about imagination. There are currently 10 books in this series and book number 10 is Being a Captain is Hard Work – a high seas pirate adventure where Captain No Beard soon realises that being the captain of a pirate ship is hard work!
Captain No Beard (aka Alexander before his imagination takes over during playtime) is the leader of a pirate ship, The Flying Dragon (or as we know from previous books, his bed), and his crew (Hallie, Mongo, Cayla, Zachary, Polly, Fribbet, Linus and Matie – his cousin and their stuffed animals). That means as Captain, he is the one with all the answers, doesn’t it?
In Being a Captain is Hard Work, Captain No Beard and his crew are back on the Flying Dragon, sailing the high seas for another pirating adventure. Captain No Beard has decided that he wants to sail to Dew Rite Volcano, and despite the opinions of his crew he is determined to do so.
His crew has advised him that sailing to Dew Rite Volcano is a very bad idea, there is a storm approaching. The direction he wants to head off into is wrong. But he is the Captain, and he knows best, so doesn’t heed their advice. Off they sail to Dew Rite Volcano. Because of his single-minded stubbornness, they head off into the storm and the crew, as well as The Flying Dragon, as soon in jeopardy. But will Captain No Beard, who knows everything, realise the error of his ways in time?
Overall, the Captain No Beard stories are a fun read and Being a Captain is Hard Work is just as fun as the rest of the series with underlying messages of stubbornness, listening to others and taking advice.
Being a Captain is Hard Work is well-written, in a simple way that children will understand and the bold and bright colourful illustrations that accompany the text bring the story to life, helping young readers visualise the story.
The underlying message children take away from this story is that being, stubborn and closed-minded will lead to trouble and that you should always listen to advice, good or bad, and make decisions based on all available information, especially when other people could be affected.
It is a good story showing that nobody can know everything, not even a ship’s captain. This story teaches children to listen to others, respect their views and ultimately how to admit you’re wrong and to learn from your mistakes.
As well as being a great story with some very good messages, the book also is quite educational in a very subtle way, helping with geography lessons, as it introduces different cloud formations and their names (there is even a glossary of clouds with pronunciations at the back of the book).
Overall, Being a Captain is Hard Work is a good story with educational value. It teaches listening skills, respecting others, admitting your mistakes, learning from your mistakes and humility. And it is also an excellent story about two children and the power of their imagination that makes good bedtime reading for children.
RRP: £7.99 (paperback)