There is an awful lot that a child is expected to bring to the table if they're to really grasp and/or be interested in Pugwash the Smuggler. I liked this book, but then, I understand the concept of smuggling, I know what brandy is, I know what the English Channel is, I know what excise men are, I know what dragoons are. My nephew got the concept that Cut-throat Jake was trying to pull a fast one on Captain Pugwash, but from the first page I could tell that this book left him feeling more confused than engrossed. My niece also failed to understand the opening pages of the book--she didn't know enough of these terms to be able to figure out what was going on.
The text in this book is somewhat complex, and I know that my nephew in particular relies heavily on the pictures when he's trying to understand a story. Unfortunately, if one ignores the text, and just looks at the pictures, it's still a bit muddy as to what's going on. We like Captain Pugwash, but this just isn't the finest, most understandable book in the Captain Pugwash series