I'm so thrilled to be spotlighting the magical realism middle-grade book, The Adventures of Jake and Moon Granny: Space Pirate Panic by Jaye Seymour, today! Today is truly a first for Word Spelunking because we have the pleasure of hosting the pirate Bloodthirsty Blackbeard the Bad, who has stopped by with a fun guest post! Plus, there be a giveaway me hearties...
The Adventures of Jake and Moon Granny:
Space Pirate Panic
by Jaye Seymour
illustrated by Alma Martinez
Help! Great Uncle Raymond and his pet fire newt, Flamer, have been kidnapped by the smelliest space pirates in the universe. It’s up to Jake and his granny to rescue them, with a little help along the way from some burping green aliens. But first they’ll need to make it through the spaceship-crunching meteor shower in one piece... Will the contents of Moon Granny's favorite red handbag be enough to defeat Blackbeard and his beastly buccaneers? Or will she and Jake be forced to walk the plank...in space? Hold your noses and burp along with Jake and Moon Granny on their stinky, star-crossing adventure. But whatever you do, don't press the red button! Or was it the yellow one?!
Ahoy there me hearties! A big thank you to Aeicha for inviting me aboard today. Stinky space pirates don’t get many invitations, especially not to lovely websites like this, with pretty cupcakes...
My name is Bloodthirsty Blackbeard the Bad (my friends call me Blackbeard for short, or at least they would if I had any) and I’m the fearsome Captain of an elite gang of beastly buccaneers. If you’ve ever looked up into the star-studded night sky and thought, Ugh, what’s that terrible stench? then that was probably us. (You’re welcome.) You see, in the cut-throat world of inter-galactic piracy, hideous hygiene habits are all the rage. Bad smells totally rock. Or should that be totally reek? Either way, it’s been two decades since any of us took a bath and that was only for a dare. But I’m not here to tell you about our malodorous magnificence or our putrid pirate pong... No, today I want to talk about a subject even closer to my heart:
The Fine Art of the Insult.
Of course you chapter-chomping chimp-brains down on Planet Earth have been insulting each other for centuries now. And, I must admit, you’re rather good at it. Shakespeare’s plays are bursting with lovely juicy insults to use on your enemies, or on people who used to be your friends before you started insulting them. Some are probably too rude to mention here (I wouldn’t want to scare those delicious-looking cupcakes) but you might like to try “Ye mad headed ape,” for starters, or “tripe visaged rascal.” I don’t imagine anyone (with the possible exception of Long John Mercury) appreciates being told they have the head of a monkey or a face like the inside of a cow’s stomach. And of course “base dunghill villain,” is another good one. I used it on a pesky prisoner just last week while he was walking the plank. In fact they were probably the last words he heard before he floated off to his doom... So long, you base dunghill villain. Enjoy your trip!
When it comes to literary insults, Roald Dahl is up there with the best. This passage from Matilda is an absolute corker:
“You ignorant little slug!" the Trunchbull bellowed. "You witless weed! You empty-headed hamster! You stupid glob of glue!”
Calling people slugs is a great idea and words like ‘witless’ and ‘empty-headed’ are bound to make your victims’ blood boil! Stringing insults together into a long list is also a top tip for getting under people’s skin. Even rude rascals like me can learn a thing or two about name-calling from the great Agatha Trunchbull.
And what about these breathtaking beauties from Matilda? I think you’ll agree they take insulting to the next level:
“You blithering idiot! You festering gumboil! You fleabitten fungus! You bursting blister! You moth-eaten maggot!”
What I particularly like here is the use of alliteration in ‘fleabitten fungus’, ‘bursting blister’ and ‘moth-eaten maggot’. Starting your insults and threats with the same letter always adds a certain something and gives them a nice satisfying feel on your tongue. When I’m threatening Jake and his Moon Granny in my book I often indulge in a spot of alliteration:
“Ow!” he howled. “I’ll get you for that, you sniveling little snot rag. I’ll fillet you like a flounder.” He sucked at his throbbing red fingers. “I’ll roast you like a rack of ribs. I’ll have your brains for burgers.”
Chasing a scurvy schoolboy around his grandmother’s spaceship, while sucking your poor injured fingers, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy playing around with words at the same time!You’ll notice I went with a food theme for that particular round of threats. A classy touch, I’m sure you’ll agree. And food items work equally well in insults, especially when teamed up with a part of the body – how about ‘broccoli brains’ or ‘banana-bellied blockhead’? A fine pair of insults that work well in any social situation requiring a complete lack of tact or basic human politeness. Speaking of which, you should have seen the look on the pizza delivery boy’s face last night when I called him a ‘flapping fish-faced fool’. It was a classic!
“I didn’t ride halfway across the universe just to be insulted,” I could hear him
shouting through the hatch, after I’d snatched my pizza out of his hands without paying.
“Of course you didn’t,” I shouted back sympathetically. I may be mean and menacing but I’m not totally unreasonable. “You rode halfway across the universe to deliver my deep crust ham and pineapple, extra large, and then be insulted.”
For some reason he didn’t throw in a free side of garlic bread.
Oops! I’ve just looked at the time (no easy feat when the spaceship clock’s covered in dirty underpants and used teabags) and realised I’m late for my next round of pirate pillaging and looting. That’s going to have to be it for today I’m afraid, apart from one final tip: the animal kingdom down on your funny little planet is an absolute gift to the would-be insulter. Insects and fish have some of the best names ever... think ‘apple maggot’; ‘booklouse’; ‘pigfish’ or ‘shovelnose’. Many of them are readymade standalone insults just waiting to be used! So if you’d like to follow in my offensive, friendless ways, all you need to do is grab yourself an animal encyclopaedia and get going!
Well, what are you waiting for, you lazy little locusts... you miserable monkey-mouthed mealy bugs...?
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Jaye Seymour is a Cambridge University English graduate and previous winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Competition. Her fiction has appeared in a number of publications on both sides of the Atlantic, including The Guardian, Mslexia, The First Line, Short Fiction and Knowonder! She was shortlisted for the 2013 Greenhouse Funny Prize and lives in Devon, England.
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