A delightful children's book written (handwriting) and illustrated by Mervyn Peake, though like all really good children's books, it can also be enjoyed by adults.
Note that this is unrelated to Mr Slaughterboard, which is a longer, less illustrated story of a bibliophile, and is included in "Peake's Progress" (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...).
This book reflects Peake's familiar love of pirates and islands, though it's really a simple story of friendship, fun and adventure.
The opening strikes a change from the traditional "Once upon a time", yet somehow has a fairytale familiarity:
"Far beyond the jungles and the burning deserts lay the bright blue ocean that stretched forever in all directions. There were little green islands with undiscovered edges, and whales swam around them in this sort of way." (and there is a picture).
The illustrations use a few solid colours (it was first published in 1939), but there is a wealth of detail in the lines, shading and stippling. This is especially true of details: tattoos, body hair, fabric, plants, sea creatures, and patched repairs of people(!), clothes and ship.
The publication date also means there are hints of colonialism, but in context, I have no problem with that. The lack of women reflects the plot and setting, and the gay subtext is just a subtext that will go over the heads of small children and shouldn't be an issue for anyone else (most cowboy stories and many pirate ones have similar, tacit, themes, which is why Brokeback Mountain was startling).
There is a panoply of fantastical creatures, with suitably exotic names, including the lonely Mousterashe, croaking Hunchabil, lazy Guggaflop, melancholy Saggerdroop, loathsome Squirmarins, along with the prosaically named Yellow Creature.
Short and charming.