This review was contributed by Ben G
In Brief: Simple and enjoyable story, painting a picture of how good manners and good cooking can overcome vice and evil.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published in: 2002
Age Range: Children
Setting: Coastal town
- Horrendo: A fearless young boy whose "curse" does not allow him to harm another human or curse and swear like the rest of the people in the village.
- Rascal reluctantly becomes a friend of Horrendo in order to evade capture by the pirates and ends up being best friend to him.
- The Pirates are at first comically nasty to Horrendo and the others. They eventually succumb to Horrendo's gentle treatment and politeness.
- Wise Woman Gretel is the old and mysterious woman who puts the curse on Horrendo.
As a baby Horrendo has a curse put on him by the old Wise woman because she is fed up of the constant fighting and swearing which goes on in the village. His curse means that Horrendo cannot harm anyone or swear. When the boys in the village turn 12 they are captured by pirates and must endure 2 years of harsh treatment and slavery under the cruel pirates if they are to return home.
Horrendo is inevitably captured by the comically cruel pirates along with his friend Rascal, however Horrendo has a little bit of the Wise Woman's magic to help him on the way. The magic along with Horrendo's own kindness encourage the pirates to become gentle and kind themselves, as they once were. However the captain of the pirates seems set in his wicked ways and refuses to change. Horrendo is forced to mutiny and along with his friends he goes in search of pirate treasure.
This is a simple yet enjoyable pirate story where the hero, Horrendo, is over virtuous. He goes out of his way to be kind to even the nastiest people (i.e. the captain) even when they openly reject his kindness. This sends out a strong message to children about how to treat others and it also makes the book fairly interesting. The book also shows the strength of friendship and the fact that everybody has a bit of good in them. Although the book contains some violence it is of the comical kind. The only downside of the book is that the attempts at humour are rather flat.
Horrendo lay on the mat in the dark. It was past 2 o'clock, but who cared about sleep? Not Horrendo. He lay thinking about his life and how it was going to end in the morning.
Tuesday 22nd July 2003