Avoid Exploring With Captain Cook! Bergin, Mark. 2006

Avoid Exploring With Captain Cook! Bergin, Mark. 2006

Bergin, Mark. 
Avoid Exploring With Captain Cook!
Book House. 
ISBN 1-905087-62-4.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which is aimed at children aged 9 - 11. It is part of a series designed to fit into the history curriculum within the UK.

At first I did not understand its title. I am sure there are many people who would have jumped at the chance to join Cook on his voyage around the world. However, as you delve into the highly illustrated pages, it emerges the "avoid" bit is more to do with the conditions you would have experienced exploring with anyone at this time. Indeed, other books in the series tell you to "Avoid sailing with Francis Drake" and "Avoid sailing on a 19th-century Whaling Ship".

It is 1768 and you are young Isaac Smith about to embark on the voyage of a lifetime. The book uses humorous cartoon-style illustrations and a narrative approach to take you through the voyage, taking you around the world and showing you the sights and sounds Smith would have seen. There are captions with handy hints, such as "Don't get drunk and fall asleep in a pub. You could wake up aboard one of His Majesty's ships!" There is a glossary of terms including boatswain, chart, grog and oakum. All of which helps bring Cook and his voyages to a new, younger audience. I thoroughly applaud David Salariya for creating this series - which is enjoyable whatever your age!

Ruth Boreham

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 48, volume 30, number 2 (2007).

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