Reviewed by Jenny Bray
This was the first time I had come across this series of children’s books. The series is about a crew of adventuring pirates but with an alternative message running throughout the story. This book covers the issue of bullying.
The series is about children, Hallie and Alexander, bringing their toys to life to create stories of pirates adventuring out at sea. However, I was only aware of this fact because of the synopsis on the back cover about the series. The only time during the story that I realised that it was something other than the actual story being told was on the final page when it mentions their Mum entering the room and them being on their bed. However, I’m guessing that this is mentioned in the first books of the series so you’d be aware if following the series from the start.
This specific book centres around a new ship mate, Matie the goat. She becomes the subject of bullying when the crew have run out of drink and she is blamed for drinking the last juice on the boat. Some of the crew start picking on her. People are either against her or on her side until Fribbet the Frog is asked to join a side and he is undecided. At that point Captain No Beard intervenes and is able to innovatively resolve the situation. Once resolved and all the crew are friends again, Matie is able to save the day by offering a solution to their lack of drink.
Each page with text on has an associated illustrated page. My children liked the pictures and questioned lots of things about the pictures of the characters while I was reading them the story.
I struggled with reading some pages as I am a bit of a grammar pedant so felt the need to correct both spelling and grammatical errors in the print. These aren’t just because she is an American author. There was a capital letter in the middle of a sentence and letters missing from a couple of words. She definitely needs a new proof reader before publishing her books!
That aside, my children loved the story. They love pirates. However, although I liked the message about bullying that ran through the book it went over them. They are only 4 and 2 though. I believe that side of the story would be more recognised and beneficial for and with older children. My eldest started school this year and I think this is an important topic to cover so I will keep reading the book with him and reiterating the message. However, for now they like it as a book ‘about pirates, coconuts and animals’, as described by my 4 year old.
RRP: £7.99 (paperback)
Available to buy from Amazon here.