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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Adventures on Captains' Island
by Sofia Prokofieva
Age Range: 9-11
Val makes himself a paper boat and calls it Dream. Once it is finished he launches it into a fast, flowing stream. Dream gets carried away and disappears much to Val’s disappointment. When Val encounters Alex, a magician, he explains to him that all ships, (even those made out of paper), end up in the Fairy Tale Ocean, on Captains’ Island and children who launch their respective boats become captains themselves.
So that is how Val, finds himself on a magical island as a now grown-up Captain Valentine. He encounters an eclectic host of interesting and unusual characters including captains, pirates, some fascinating anthropomorphic cats and a sardine. There is also a sparrow, who initially came to life as a drawing with two black inks marks smudged on the paper by mistake and who now dare to follow the bird wherever she goes.
This is an enjoyable adventure, fantasy story with a naval and magical theme, translated by James Riordan, a prolific English author of fiction and fairy tale stories. Here Riordan has shown his excellent skill as a translator. The book is profusely and generously illustrated in full-colour plates throughout by the talented artist Gennady Kalinovsky.