Renee Mihulka – Children's Book Reviews & Writer

The Smuggler’s Curse by Norman Jorgensen

A swashbuckling tale set along the west coast of Australia, sure to delight any pirate lover.


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OVERALL: 4 Stars

Concept:4 Stars
Characters:4.5 Stars
Plot:4 Stars
Writing:4 Stars


Norman Jorgensen
Fremantle Press


I reviewed this book for the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

You can find my review by clicking here: CBCA Review.



This book is recommended for children 9 years and over and I would agree with this, unless of course they are squeamish. There are some pretty violent occurances—heads blown off, torture, that sort of thing — but  keep in mind they are in context to illustrate the bloody times and not just gratuitous.

The themes in this book are coming of age, adventure, history, sailing, mateship and mentorship.


Things to ask and discuss:

If you haven’t read the book, don’t worry. Ask these questions anyway and coax the answers out. Or just let your child mull it over alone. And don’t worry if they don’t want to talk about some of the things listed here, it’s ok to just let them talk about the bits they want to. Bottom line is, they will love that you are showing an interest and asking for their opinion even if they don’t always show it.


*Spoiler alerts in the questions!!*

1. Imagine your life as a pirate. What do you think the best things about such a life would be? The worst?

2. Why do you think that Red was able to cope so well with all the violence along his journey? How do you think you would cope? Why?

3. What do you think the real reason Red’s mother let Red go with Bowan? What evidence is there that Bowan is more than just Red’s mentor?

4. The war between the Dutch and the natives was brutal. What are the arguments for each side? Which side do you think is right and why?


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Book Reviews and Writer