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Monkey Boy by Donovan Bixley
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Monkey Boy

by Donovan Bixley

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Its 1804 and Jimmy Grimholt, youngest of 13 children, has just joined the Royal Navy. He is the smallest sailor aboard the H.M.S Fury, a warship bound for the English Channel to fight off Napoleon Bonaparte and his army. Jimmy is assigned to the crew manning 'Blasting Betty', a 32 pound cannon. His job as a 'powder monkey' means that during battles he has to run to the most dangerous place on the ship, the magazine store, retrieve bags of gunpowder, then race back to the crew. Jimmy also has an unusual talent; after almost drowning he can now see terrifying ghosts. He thought he had left them behind in Puddleditch, but no, ghosts can also be found aboard battleships and the descriptions are so gruesome that I was scared!

Winner of the Junior Fiction Award in the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. I love the drawings and extra detail in this book (plus the slang words) which must have taken a lot of research. The terrible food and motley crew, plus the bullying by the older boys and officers paints a realistic picture about what a hard life it must have been. Great for upper primary and intermediate students. ( )
  DebbieMcCauley | Dec 15, 2015 |
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"So how do you go to the toilet on a great sailing warship? Worse, what do you do when your breeches are about your ankles, your naked nether regions are hanging out over the dark frothing ocean 20 feet below, and you're cornered by a hideous phantom, hell-bent on revenge? Young Jimmy has a problem, no it's not the crazy men in his gun crew, the older bully boys, awful amputations, exploding diarrhoea, or the food that would make a landlubber ill. Jimmy's problem is that he can see the dead. And they scare the flapping halibut out of him! Worse still, the ship is headed for bloodcurdling battle where the dead will be thick as flies, maybe even as thick as some of Jimmy's crew mates. As the odds pile against him, can Jimmy turn his secret curse into a powerful ally?"--Publisher information. Partly in graphic novel format.… (more)

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