The Pirates Next Door

Jonny Duddle. Candlewick/Templar, $15.99 (44p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5842-7
Good fences make good neighbors, but pirates? Not so much. At least not according to the residents of the tiny, proper town of Dull-on-Sea (“Sister city: Ennui-sur-Mer”), most of whom are horrified when the Jolley-Rogers family roll into town on their galleon-on-wheels. “Isn’t it disgraceful, on such a lovely street?/ Why, they don’t even try to keep their front lawn looking neat!” Next-door neighbor Matilda, however, is thrilled by all the excitement, and she befriends pirate boy Jim Lad. Once the family’s ship is, well, shipshape, the Jolley-Rogers set sail, leaving buried treasure (marked by an X, of course) in their wake as a goodwill gesture (this is not the first town that’s rallied against them). Duddle’s (The Pirate Cruncher) rhymes have the buoyant, singsong quality of a sea shanty, but are weighed down by a fairly preachy plot. His cinematic and richly developed digital artwork, however, is well-suited to the absurdity of the subject matter, and he does an excellent job of exaggerating the pirates’ slightly menacing yet silly appearance and the concerned glances and raised eyebrows of the unwelcoming community. Ages 3–up. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/19/2011
Release date: 02/28/2012
Paperback - 38 pages - 978-1-84877-392-9
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