Karen at The Letterpress Project has recently read and tested out with a group of 5 year olds our recent picture book The Pirate Who Lost His Name by Lou Treleaven with illustrations by Genie Espinosa:
‘It is quite a challenge for publishers to produce pirate related stories that are a bit different, because there are already so many already out there. I am pleased to say that this one, produced by Maverick Books, is suitably captivating and I have already used it successfully with a large group of wriggly five year olds.
So what makes this one distinctive? All the familiar piratey trademarks are vividly portrayed on the cover. This is a rather cross looking pirate who has a huge orange beard that spreads beyond the bottom edge of the page. There is a treasure chest in the corner and a cheeky looking parrot leaning into the picture. The pirate wears an eye patch but, the children with me when I read the story out loud, were more interested in why he had an angry looking bump on his head and why one of his eye brows was upside down. This just shows how an effective book cover makes the reader want to find out more, so we continued to the end papers that provided some more clues.
It seems that he has everything a self -respecting pirate should wish for, except that he just cannot remember his own name! We see a parade of his friends with interesting names who fall into different pirate categories: the boastful; the bearded and the romantic. I was rather taken with Captain Weirdybeard and Captain Dreamboat, but I’m sure that all of these imaginatively drawn characters would inspire plenty of other ideas from children.
As with all of her books, Lou Treleaven has injected plenty of humour. The catchphrase which proved to be a useful refrain as we read the story replaces one that is probably more familiar to adults: ‘Yo ho ho and a bottle of orange squash. And a dish of seeds for me parrot’.
I, along with the children, enjoyed this witty picture book with its many colourful illustrations showing the detailed world of pirates who all seem very jolly and unexpectedly keen on looking after their appearances – not a hint of blood or violence anywhere.
Many thanks, Karen!