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One day I found a cape at the very top of a tree. The cape was dark blue, with bright gold stars around the sides. And it was magic
.. It made wishes come true.
It has to be every young boys dream a cape that performs magic at will. For some strange reason the cape has to be wet and you have to hold onto the small gold number seven embroidered under the collar but providing you remember those two special rules a world of wonderment awaits. Of course it took a little getting used to for Jamie, but after a couple of mistakes turning his younger brother Harry into a bluebottle being one he learnt to use the cape wisely. One day, when feeling thoroughly fed up with being bullied and called shrimp by a couple of school bullies, he sought solace in his favourite story book, a book about a boy pirate named brave Bill and his adventures on the high sees plundering booty and getting up to high jinx on the ocean wave. He longed to be part of these adventures with brave Bill and after talking to his best friend Reema the pair of them decided that come the witching hour they would use the cape for some adventures in the world of brave Bill.
Ring, ring, ring, ring. I jumped up in bed and switched my alarm off. It was five to twelve. I got dressed as quickly as I could after all, you cant go and be a pirate in pyjamas, can you?
But what was this? The cape was gone! It was over the back of the chair when Jamie went to sleep and yet now there was not a trace. With growing trepidation Jamie rushed to Charlies room, to find his Brother floating near the ceiling in an excited state! It seems Charlie had overheard Jamie and Reema planning their midnight journey and decided to get in on the act first, but as the beaming sibling floats out of the window to an adventure strewn night in the company of pirates little did he know the real escapades would be played out with Jamie, as when he awakes in the morning he finds no other than brave Bill asleep in his room. So with a notorious boy pirate to entertain there is never going to be a dull moment, especially when he is taken to school, let us just hope that nobody upsets him, lest they be forced to walk the plank!
Brave Bill wears a patch over his left eye. And if ever you annoy him, watch out. Because then he will whip off his eyepatch and stare at you with his magic left eye.
Well this book is a jolly little jape and no mistake, throw in ingredients like an aggravating Brother, an excitable pirate and a bullied boy and watch them simmer as they play off each other. Brave Bills innocence in the ways of the civilized world are a joy to behold with him seemingly wanting to sort out every little problem with a walk of the plank. Jamie is the put upon bullied lad who has had enough and needs someone like brave Bill to give him the strength he needs to stand up to his foes while Charlie is simply the characteristic annoying younger Brother. The tales of the high seas brave Bill imparts to all who will listen are every Childs` dream with no adults to tell them what to do as they skip from adventure to adventure plundering booty and eating weevil biscuits day after day. When things do start to go wrong at school Jamie has to make a tough decision, standing up to those who bully him with the help of the pirate or upset his hero and risk become a laughing stock amongst his peers.
It was Brave Bill! Here in my bedroom! The room started to spin round, just as if I were on a ship during a storm at sea. I tip-toed over to him. No, it wasnt a dream. He really was here!
At ninety-four pages and complimented with the occasional Illustration by Mike Gordon this is very much a book to be read by youngsters in one or two sittings. The characters are not over described so that a little imagination can be used and a few interesting questions are raised about bullies and how to deal with them which could be seen as a good way in to discussing such things with a child. The story is clever and holds just a little bit of magic with the cape so that the Harry Potter generation could relate to it, although this is very much aimed at a younger group than those who might read J.K. Rowlings work. Above all else though it is a good, fun and ultimately rewarding book that can be enjoyed by young and old, four stars out of five from me.
94 pages softback
ISBN: - 0141313404
£3.99 new at Amazon.co.uk
Jamie is worried about being rather a wimp. His hero is the pirate, Brave Bill, and he tries to magic himself into Brave Bill's world. The magic goes wrong resulting in Brave Bill coming into Jamie's world instead. Jamie takes his new friend to school to show him off and discovers that he isn't really brave after all, in fact he's a bully. Jamie stands up to him - and finds out that there are many different forms of bravery and that he has more to be proud of in himself than he ever realised.