A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

English / New Zealand

Monkey Boy. An illustrated novel

Bixley, Donovan (text/illus.)
Auckland, N.Z. [et al.]: Scholastic, 2014. –
285 p.
ISBN 978-1-77543-186-2

Warship – Sailor – Bullying – Ghost – Fear – Survival 

When young Jimmy first enters his new home, the warship HMS Fury, he expects excitement and adventure. Yet in 1804, a sailor’s life is not a bed of roses, especially not for the youngest crew member. Jimmy is bullied, tricked, and tormented. He witnesses horrors and cruelty, has to make do with disgusting food that would certainly kill a “landlubber”, and lands the most dangerous job of gunpowder monkey. However, his biggest nightmare are the ghosts of dead people that seem to be following him around. This historical adventure-novel includes a gripping narrative, a crew of fearsome characters, and plenty of action. Sequences of lively comic-book illustrations in black and white add to the story’s thrilling atmosphere and perfectly complement the graphic descriptions of gruesome details about life at sea. Frequent witty asides and comical dialogues serve to relieve the suspense. Renowned author-illustrator Donovan Bixley has created a hybrid novel that will captivate even reluctant readers. (Age: 10+)