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The Real Kraken Crew

Dan Malster Author Interview

Kraken Crew follows a ship captain that takes his crew on an adventure to steal the dragon’s gold, on the way they encounter several obstacles. What was the inspiration for your story?

The inspiration for this book was the real Kraken Crew. On bus and train journeys, on rainy days and at bedtime, my three children and I take turns to make up stories. These are usually funny adventure stories and often include our family. One of the stories that I told was all about us having adventures on our boat, Kraken, and each of my children using their special skills to help them defeat all sorts of sea monsters. The elf-witch is based on my eldest, Holly Elfin, who really does have a way with animals. Our boat would be like the Ark if Holly had her way. The banshee is based on Ivy Pixie, my second child, who we all call Supersonic Ivy due to her ear-piercing scream. And Storm Boy is based on my son, Taiga Storm, who is an absolute whirlwind of energy and who was born during a particularly fierce storm. With kids like these onboard our boat, Kraken, this story virtually wrote itself.

Each of your characters is unique and fun. Where did the idea come from for how your characters looked?

Drawing the characters is by far my favourite part of the whole process of writing and illustrating. With Kraken Crew and two other books that I am currently writing I love to imagine the situations the characters are going through and I sit there pulling of sorts of funny faces and then imagine how these expressions would look on the various characters. I now tend to draw my characters at home rather than in public places after receiving quite a lot of funny looks from people.

I tried many different styles when designing the characters and general illustration for this book, though with each style the main characters always loosely resembled my family. I knew from the start that I wanted them to be colourful and incorporate my children’s favourite colours, I wanted them to look like a rowdy bunch of mucky pirates, and I wanted to have fun drawing their facial expressions. I think that I spent more time experimenting with different styles and developing the characters than I did on illustrating the whole book. I have a whole notebook full of illustrations of just the ships rats, from developing the way they look to the many ways that they could be included in the background of various stories. I really ought to write a story about them at some point.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I am sure that this is true of most young families, but my 3 children were/are very competitive with each other and this often resulted in the younger children feeling that they were not as good as their older sibling(s). This story was very much about demonstrating to my kids that they all had their own special talents, which they should be proud of, and that sometimes they have to work together, using their strengths to help the collective accomplish their goals.

After reading A LOT of children’s books with my children, it was obvious what our favourite books had in common and so, what I needed to include in Kraken Crew. It had to be funny. It had to rhyme. And there should be a moral to the story. Judging by all of the positive reviews that Kraken Crew has received I would say that I managed to achieve this.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently working on two books; Release the Kraken and Polly’s Gone Crackers. Release the Kraken is a story about how this motley crew first assembled and first met the legendary Kraken. This book is very nearly finished and I had aimed to make it available in the first half of 2022. However, I am having far too much fun drawing bird characters for Polly’s Gone Crackers (the third book), so I may end up being a bit behind schedule. Polly’s Gone Crackers is a story about my favourite character in Kraken Crew, Polly the Parrot. The captain finally has enough of Polly’s mishaps and cowardly ways and attempts to replace him with a brave new bird to keep watch. Both books will certainly be available this year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Instagram

The Kraken Crew have got big plans
Their biggest adventure yet.
One that will go down in history
A heist that no one will ever forget.
They plan to take gold from dragons
A plan you may think is crazed.
But if the Kraken Crew succeed
They’ll be rich til the end of their days.
Join the Kraken Crew in this award winning, rhyming, comic and in parts gruesome tale of adventure on the high seas, as they embark on a danger-ridden quest to steal gold from the dragons that live in Mount Doom.
The Kraken is a ship that is run by a real motley crew of pirates, including an elf-witch who can charm almost all animals, a banshee who can kill with her super-sonic scream, a young man who can summon storms, and on watch, the ship’s parrot. He may not be the bravest member of the crew, and he can’t tell fish from seagulls, but, well, at the very least he does alert the crew to all kinds of potential danger.
On their way to Mount Doom the crew use their individual strengths to battle sirens, ghost pirates and a mighty sea monster. When they reach Mount Doom they really have to work together to battle a swarm of dragons. This is where the captain steps in. At the helm, the captain tries his best to keep the ship ship-shape and to keep the crew united in their quest. He is moderately successful in this, but when even a unified crew start to struggle in their battle with a swarm of dragons he is forced to call upon his special friend.

Kraken Crew

The Kraken motley crew of pirates have big plans to sail to Mount Doom and steal the gold treasure from the fierce dragons. This dangerous mission has never been accomplished before but Captain Kraken knows his crew is up to the job and with teamwork they can reach the island and get the gold. Banshee, Storm Boy, Elf Witch, and parrot sail the ship with Captain Kraken. Together they encounter several dangerous obstacles and each time, a member of the ship uses their special skill to help the crew escape. When they reach Mount Doom, it looks hopeless as the swarm of dragons comes out and attacks. Can the crew use teamwork and defeat the dragons or will they too end up at the bottom of the sea?

Kraken Crew is written and illustrated by Dan Malster. This picture book is written in a fun rhyme scheme that will draw in children and keep their attention. There is a good balance of scary situations with fun and laughter with the crew. The illustrations that go with the text are fantastic. The artwork is bright and colorful, the images have a lot of details that you can pick out from each scene. Each page has something hidden, a mouse, a worm, or a fun detail to highlight the power each crewmate has. My favorite little detail was the list of ship rules when the crew is eating, number six is “Captain’s hat is not a toilet!”

The moral messages presented in this creative story make this fun book spectacular. Malster shows that everyone has special talents that can be helpful and every person is valuable. He also shows that teamwork is needed to accomplish big goals, that no one person can do everything themselves.

Kraken Crew is a magical children’s fantasy picture book for kindergarteners and young elementary students. This enchanting story will enthrall children with musical rhymes and dramatic artwork.

Pages: 36 | ISBN : 1739824601

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