The Jolley-Rogers – a pirate family, are moving to Dull-on-Sea, a quiet seaside town. Stopping to fix up their ship, this unusual family get the whole neighbourhood spreading rumours. Defying the grown-ups, Matilda from next door decides to become friends with the youngest pirate son. When the Jolley-Rogers leave, the town discovers they were wrong to assume the worst – the pirate clan have buried treasure in everyone’s gardens (shown in a stunning double-gatefold). Matilda feels sad until she discovers her own treasure – an incredibly exciting new pen friend.
I picked this up because the front cover made it look like such fun as a boat full of pirates is rolling up the road. I wasn’t disappointed on the inside either as the story was great and the pictures a pure delight.
So to the story, there is an empty house on the street in Dull-on-Sea (great name) and one day a pirate family move in complete with pirate ship (which needs mending hence the break from the sea). Tilda next door is very pleased to have a friend in the ‘pirate boy’ but the rest of the neighbourhood are less than welcoming. They come together to moan about the piratey aspects of the new residents. However in reality the pirates are not any of the things that are being said of them. They are actually very wise pirates who know that these people are complaining and, in a cunning twist, they set out to show them that pirates are not actually bad at all by leaving a gift for each of the neighbours. Of course after that everybody loves them!
If you like to use books to talk about issues with your children this is a great way to take an early look at prejudice and not judging people you don’t really know.
The illustrations are brilliantly drawn, detailed and humorous. They clearly show the exuberance of the pirates and the complete disapproval of the neighbours as they move in. My girls will tell you that the best of all is the big picture. It shows all the neighbours lawn’s marked with crosses (as x marks the spot of course) and you open it out to see them all desperately digging in search of their treasure. There is lots to look at on every page and they are the kind of pictures you keep seeing more things in each time you go back to them.
Verdict: So both the girls and I loved this, written in rhyme means they get to read it with me these days, it is a firm favourite.
Reviewed by Helen