The "Putrid Pirates" puzzle is a "Horrible Histories" product, part of a range of items including books, and currently popular as a BBC series which "leave the horrible bits in" and aim to make history more interesting to children. There are various puzzles in the collection available featuring different periods of history. As you can see from the picture, this particular puzzle features a pirate scene, with a boat being attacked. There is lots of detail to the picture which shows pirates aplenty attacking sailors with a range of weapons. It's not over gory, but it does feature blood shed and lot of pirate utterances in speech bubbles, in cartoon style. The colours are quite muted but it's well drawn and there's plenty of interest. As a puzzle it works well as there is a range of shades to the colours which makes it easier to find the pieces, and as there are lots of figures that helps too. It's a fun and realistic scene.
This is a "grown up" puzzle, and so the pieces are a couple of centimetres across. The puzzle itself is quite substantial at 47cm by 67cm so you will need to make it on quite a large table. I found that my 7 year old could complete the puzzle in a couple of sittings, her level of concentration is fairly good, but with a little guidance she didn't find this too frustrating, though she did realise quite early on that the puzzle would be quite a challenge. My child enjoyed making it, I think it is well designed because the pieces are a good range of different shapes and the fact that they have "horrible histories" printed on the back makes it easier to sort them so they are all the right way round before you start finding the edge pieces (that IS the only way to do a puzzle - right?).
I would say the 300 piece puzzle, which is 15 pieces high by 20, takes a couple of hours to make at first, though as she has played with it more she has certainly sped up somewhat! We both found the accompanying leaflet which tells you some of the truth behind the pirate myths, really interesting and written in an age appropriate way, I learned something too - pirates apparently never made people walk the plank and lots of them died from drinking too much! Play wise this puzzle works more as a fun activity which provides plenty of opportunity for parent-child discussion than an actual educational or history activity in all honesty. For a start there is no indication on the puzzle which period this is set in, though the leaflet does talk about the 18th century and Blackbeard, so I can only assume it's this period which is illustrated - it might have been nice to know.
Once play is finished the puzzle is easily stowed in a sturdy box - a good box is always a plus, and we have found the cardboard of the puzzle pieces is quite strong too especially compared to other puzzles we own, though care has to be taken when taking the puzzle apart as the connectors can bend. I think this puzzle is good value for money for the amount of enjoyment it has provided. I would say that it is ideal for any child of 7 or above, probably it is best avoided for younger children who may find it too challenging and the subject matter a little gory!
Recommended as perfect for a present or a rainy afternoon or two - this is a good toy.