The Crogan Adventures: Catfoot’s Vengeance by Chris Schweizer, colored by Joey Weiser and Michelle Chidester
Oni Press, 2015. 978-1620102039
Synopsis: When “Catfoot” Crogan becomes the new favorite of an infamous pirate captain whose crew he was forced to join, he incurs the wrath of the murderous first mate D’or. Can Catfoot keep his new crewmates safe when D’or hatches a scheme that will bring the full might of every navy in the West Indies down on their heads? Previously published as Crogan’s Vengeance – from Amazon.com
Why I picked it up: I got the chance to meet Schweizer at the American Library Association Annual Conference this last summer and loved the idea behind the book. Plus, I owed it to my eight-year-old self who wanted to become a pirate…or an actor…or a veterinarian…or an author…or a reporter…or an editor….
Why I finished it: This is a well-crafted story on every level: there is a good balance between action and drama with characters that seem to leap off the page. While this story isn’t based on an actual family tree or any actual people, the historical basis behind The Crogan Adventures gives the reader a little bit of a history lesson within a fictional realm. Schweizer’s storytelling skills really engage the reader and keep them turning the pages to see how Catfoot will manage to keep himself and the crew from getting in trouble. I liked Catfoot as a main character because he’s smart and he’s clever. He finds a way to make do with what he has and what skills he’s acquired to be able to stay one step ahead of D’or and gain the trust of some of the other crew members. The plot seems to move slowly at first, but it picks up the pace after the first few pages. Schweizer sets his scenes piece by piece and likes to build off small details like character quirks to add other layers to the story. I liked the colors and they way they too add to the story: muted browns, blues, reds, and greens bring the18th Century West Indies and the pirates to life. It makes me want to learn sea shanties, how to sail a boat, and brush up on my fencing skills. It’s a story that has a little bit of something for everyone, especially those more adventurous type and most anyone you knew that grew up wanting to be a pirate even if it isn’t still a legit profession…or is it?
Other related materials: The Crogan Adventures: Five Years’ Service by Chris Schweizer, colors by Joey Weiser; The Crogan Adventures: Loyalty by Chris Schweizer; The Creeps books by Chris Schweizer; Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series by Nathan Hale; Two Miserable Presidents: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn’t Tell You About the Civil War by Steve Sheinkin, illustrated by Tim Robinson; Which Way to the Wild West: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn’t Tell You About Westward Expansion by Steve Sheinkin, illustrated by Tim Robinson; King George: What Was His Problem?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn’t Tell You About the American Revolution by Steve Sheinkin, illustrated by Tim Robinson; Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko; Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko; Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko; Guys Read: True Stories edited by Jon Scieszka