Title: Pirates Galore (also titled “The Giant Rat of Sumatra”)
Author: Sid Fleischman
Series : A stand alone book, but it is related to “By the Great Horn Spoon” and “Bandit’s Moon”
Illustration: Jim Hendrix
In Short: Captain Gallows of the Giant Rat of Sumatra rescues a cabin boy from drowning. He takes a liking to “Shipwreck”, and invites him to join him at his new ranchero in Mexico. Should Shipwreck stay with his new friends, or try to make his way home to Boston, where he is not even sure if his mother misses him?
What I thought:
I read, and loved many of Sid Fleischman’s books as a child. “The Ghost in the Noonday Sun“, “Djingo Django” and especially “By the Great Horn Spoon” were favourites. Sid Fleischman specialises in the interesting and unexpected relationship between boys and their heroes. His male characters are often an intriguing mix of responsible father, dashing hero and unreliable tricksters.
This was a great little book – warm, short and real. There are all the characters needed for a dashing adventure story. Captain Gallows, proud and talkative, with his love of flashy clothing and red boots:
Senorita Wildcat, the mysterious, sharp shooting, sharp tongued female bandit:
The villainous pirate One Armed Ginger. The taciturn foreman of the ranchero, Juan Largo. They are all larger than life and characters that fit into a pirate story – but all, somehow, real people, with real, human failings and human wisdom, humour and warmth.
I enjoyed this book – if it did not quite measure up to my memories of By the Great Horn Spoon. But then I am no longer 12 years old, and cannot make a fair comparison.