Monday 13 June 2022

Carole's Monday. Jose and the pirate Captain Toledano


Author: Arnon Z. Shorr

Illustrator: Joshua M Edelglass
Title: José and the Pirate Captain Toledano
Genre: Historical Fiction, Children’s Graphic Novels, YA 
Pages: ebook, 96 pages*
Published: January 1st 2022 
Where I Got It: Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion

*Available in Print and ebook

Jose and the Pirate Captain
Set in the shadows of the Spanish Inquisition, this is the coming-of-age story of José Alfaro, a young refugee who forms a powerful bond with the mysterious Pirate Captain Toledano. It’s also a dynamic pirate adventure on the high seas, with hand-to-hand combat and ship-to-ship action, and the powerful story of a dark time in history when people took different paths to survive. José Alfaro is a cocky, rambunctious teen in the 16th-century colony of Santo Domingo, pulling pranks and dodging the authorities. One day, José’s mischief lands him in serious trouble. Hoping for a fresh start, he stows away on the Laqish, not knowing that it’s a pirate ship. From his hiding place, he watches the pirates divide their loot and plan their attacks on long days at sea. He also takes note of the respect they have for their captain, the intimidating Toledano. But the captain has a secret―like José, he is a Jew. For him, piracy is not about the gold; it has a different purpose. Under the tutelage of the ship’s quartermaster, José learns the intricacies of pirate life. But when he can, the captain finds ways to pull José away from the crew, to teach him about his ancestors.

View Trailer Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano by Arnon Z. Shorr

 When I was a wee thing myself I LOVED anything pirates so I know this would've been perfect for me so I knew I had to check this out. That cover...the storyline...the title....perfection!

Here we follow José Alfaro who is a young refugee. After certain events, he finds himself on a pirate ship and forms a powerful bond with the mysterious Pirate Captain Toledano. Set during the Spanish Inquisition, José and the captain have a secret that is dangerous for themselves and their crew. 

I finished this in one sitting. I literally couldn't stop reading! I had to know what was going to happen to our hero, his family, his friends, and his crew. No one is safe during the Spanish Inquisition! Such a dangerous and dark time. 

It made me sad watching José be forced to grow up so quickly. He went from a standard rambunctious and carefree teen to a young adult with a dangerous secret and worry and sadness. But he never lost his spirit! 

I loved watching him and Captain Toledano form a friendship. It was nice seeing the captain take José under his wing. 

By the end, I found that I enjoyed it, but it also saddened me. Some people are just so evil. Humans can really stink, but I loved the ending message here. There is hope for humanity, but it is a rough road. 

I loved, loved, LOVED the art. It was perfect for this story. It was a perfect balance of realistic vs animated. I think kids will really like it.

The only thing I consider an "issue" is that I felt like we needed more. I would've loved to see/read more of José's lessons with Captain Toledano. Learn more about the history of the Jewish people and the religion. Maybe see more about what it takes to be a pirate like fighting, etc. Maybe an extra couple of pages? I think that would've been an extra cherry on top.

In the end, I really enjoyed reading this. Can this please be made into a TV show or a movie??? I would for sure watch that! The story, the characters, the message...bravo. If you like historical fiction you'll enjoy this. I think this would be a good story for kids...especially if they like pirates. It has a great message at the end. Overall, I shall stamp this with 4 stars. 

This giveaway is for 2 print copies One for each of 2 winners. This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on July 1, 2022 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only. a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This sounds fabulous! Anything pirates usually gets my attention too, but this sounds really well done.

  2. I'm glad you had a good time with it