Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Bigbeard’s Hook

Bigbeard’s Hook

Evan Solomon
Illustrator:  Bill Slavin 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Penguin Canada, 2005   ISBN: 978-0670063864

Every Sunday Nathaniel McDaniel goes to visit his Gramps who lives in the most wonderful old mansion which is full of amazing treasures. There are rooms and more rooms to explore, there are trunks to look into, and junk to examine. One Sunday Nathaniel discovers that there is a little hatch at the top of the house. The door is padlocked and Nathaniel has a frustrating time before he finally gets the door open. Inside Nathaniel finds the most amazing things. Why there is what looks like an Egyptian mummy case, a dinosaur skull, a shield, a ventriloquists dummy and on a wooden box Nathaniel sees a hook. It is of the kind which one would imagine a pirate wearing on his hand, or rather where his hand used to be. Nathaniel picks up the hook and then the most amazing thing happens – he is transported back in time and he finds himself standing on the heaving deck of a pirate ship at sea.

Not surprisingly the pirates aren’t too keen to see a “stowaway” on their ship and they are determined to make Nathaniel, “the wee lad” walk the plank. Nathaniel does his best to escape from the pirates and in the process he finds out who is the owner of the hook which he found in Gramps’ attic.

This first book in a new series called “Nathaniel McDaniel and the Magic Attic” is amusing and full of unexpected events. Looking at the picture of the attic one can imagine what might happen to Nathaniel next. Where will he go on his next trip? One also cannot help wondering how Gramps ended up with such an extraordinary attic in the first place. Clearly the old man knows a great deal about the attic and its properties. It is all a wonderful mystery.

Full of details and showing things from unexpected views and angles, the illustrations in this book will enthral younger children as they have the story read to them.