Today I’m reviewing Bash and the Pirate Pig written by Burton W. Cole and published by B&H Kids. You might remember that I mentioned it a few weeks ago after seeing it on the local LifeWay store’s shelf.
I’ll confess that I knew I would love this book before I ever got a copy. Burton Cole is the fearless leader of an online critique group I’m part of, so I’m one of the lucky people who got to read the story from the very beginning. I could hardly wait to get a new chapter every week because I knew something crazy was about to happen. And it never disappointed.
So – now that my disclaimer is out of the way, I’ll tell you about the book.
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Raymond is a video-game loving, chips eating city kid. His plans for a lazy summer with his favorite comic books go kaput when his parents tell him the worst news ever – he’ll be spending the summer with his cousin Sebastian – otherwise known as Bash – on his farm in a town so small that even Google can’t find it.
Bash is a goofy free spirit who’s always looking for something new and fun to try. He just knows that an adventure is always waiting to happen, and he’s ready to find it.
Of course, Bash’s adventures usually turn into misadventures – or even full-blown catastrophes. Things like …
- Bringing a skunk and brown mice to Sunday school class
- Late night cow tipping
- Flying from the barn’s hay loft
- And his crowning achievement for the summer: transforming Gulliver J. McFrederick the Third – otherwise known as the farm’s hog – into the Pirate Pig on the Lake
Raymond already thinks that Bash is crazy and annoying before he goes for the summer visit. But despite his tendency to be a rule follower and his new belief that Bash is certifiably insane – Raymond usually get stuck going right along with all the crazy ideas. And as scary as it might sound, some of the things Bash says actually start to make sense to Raymond before the summer is over.
Raymond’s self-proclaimed Summer of Doom turns into a summer he’ll always remember – and not just because of the Pirate Pig.
* * * * *
I can honestly say I laughed my way through much of this book, and I think kids will too. But the author isn’t trying to just write a story to get some laughs. There are some great messages for kids, too – things about friendship and family and God. The nice part is, they’re not preachy messages that will turn kids off because they’re worked into the story from Bash’s crazy point of view.
Bottom line: This is a book I would highly recommend for upper elementary or middle school readers. Whether they’re city kids like Raymond or small town farm kids like Bash, they’ll find something to laugh at and enjoy. My bet is they’ll keep reading right past the end of the story to the sneak peek at Bash and the Chicken Coop Caper – the next book in the series that will be released in the spring of 2014.
Here’s where you can learn more about Bash and the Pirate Pig or author Burton Cole:
- Book review by Cynthia Toney (another member of our fabulous critique group, whose debut novel will be published in 2014!)
Your turn + giveaway: What’s the craziest adventure you were part of as a kid? Did you do it alone, or drag people along like Bash does Raymond? If at least 6 people share their stories in the comment section by Friday, November 8, one of you will win a copy of Bash and the Pirate Pig!