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being a captain is hard work book coverReviewed by Poppy Johnson

Being a Captain is Hard Work begins with Captain No Beard on the deck of his ship, The Flying Dragon. This particular Captain is a bright eyed cartoon figure who has many friends on his crew–Mongo, Hallie, Polly, Cayla, and Zachary. At the start, Mongo looks through his telescope and notices a storm coming at the ship. He has a disagreement with the Captain who believes that the clouds are not stratocumulus (typical rain clouds) but rather white fluffy clouds that are cumulus in nature. As the storm clouds begin to rock the ship, the Captain relents and agrees that the storm clouds will prevent him from going to his destination, Dew Rite Volcano. We are not told why he wants to go there, but the story is pretty interesting so far.

Next, some disagreement ensues about whether they’re heading in the right direction, and there are several gusts of wind that threaten the ship. But all is saved, until a leak springs up on the boat and a storm is at hand.

The Captain (remember, he is just a child, but appears to be competent for our purposes) explains that he knows what he’s doing and leads the boat out of the storm. The moral of the story is basically that the Captain tries to make all the decisions by himself, and has to realize that he needs to rely more on his crew. The goal is to show children that they need to work in cooperation with a lot of other people at home, at school, or on a team playing sports, and sometimes need to learn to rely on others to help them make the best decisions.

At the end of the story, one of the crew members tells the Captain that a good friend will always tell you when you’re doing something that is right. Finally the crew comes together to rally around the Captain and we find that everything works out for the best in the end.

The end of the book has a key for understanding the different types of clouds, making this a book about science as well as relationships. I’d recommend this book for boys and girls who are just learning to read.


After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Carole P. Roman. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.