Illustrated by Gareth Conway.
Published by Welbeck Children’s Books, 2022.
Interview with Blackbeard and Other Vicious Villains is the latest in a brilliant children’s non-fiction series by Andy Seed. I’ve previously read and reviewed Interview with a Tiger and so I was keen to see who Andy would be interviewing next. It turns out it’s a motley crew of outlaws, gangsters, pirates and despotic leaders.
The interview format is wonderfully accessible: presenting non-fiction content in a fun and easy-to-read way. Despite the grizzly content and unsavoury interviewees, information is presented with a light touch and there’s a lot of humour. The witty and cartoon-like illustrations add to this sense of fun. That’s not to say, however, that the book makes light of these villains’ crimes.
There’s a real mix of villains from around the world and throughout history and, while some will be very familiar to young readers (Guy Fawkes and Blackbeard, for example), there are many lesser-known baddies too. Victor Lustig, the conman who sold the Eiffel Tower, was new to me, as was the Chinese pirate Zheng Yi Sao.
The exchanges between villain and interviewer help give the reader a real sense of the villain’s personality, while their answers reveal lots of details about their lives and help us to understand why they have become so notorious.
I can’t wait to share Interview with Blackbeard with my class; I know it’s going to be a very popular addition to the class library.
Suitable for children aged 7+
Thank you to Welbeck Children’s Books for sending me this book to review. I reviewed this book as part of the Interview with Blackbeard blog tour where author Andy Seed joined me for a Q&A. You can read his answers here.
Love the sound of this book. I’m off to buy it for my reluctant reader grandson.
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If he likes it, there’s a whole series for him to enjoy 🤞🏼