The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle

From TheBookbag
Jump to navigationJump to search

The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle

Buy The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle at or

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: It's the pictures which make the book - you can pour over them for hours and still find something new the next time around. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 36 Date: March 2012
Publisher: Templar Publishing
ISBN: 978-1848773929

Share on: Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram

Winner: Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2012

Longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2013

Matilda lives in the little seaside town of Dull-on-Sea where the average age is 67. The house next door has been empty since she was a baby and she longs for a family with a girl of her own age to move in but instead a family of pirates move into the decrepit old house - complete with their pirate ship, treasure chests, barrels of grog and Jim Lad who is in Matilda's class at school. The neighbours - well, the town - are not pleased, so what will the pirate family do to win them round? Meanwhile, Matilda is having a lot of fun.

I had a lot of fun too. A children's picture book, I thought, would be a quick read, but it wasn't. There is, you see, just so much to look at on every page and it's just about impossible to turn the page whilst there's something else to examine, wonder about or find. In truth, the story is very slight - the pirates come, they're different, they leave buried treasure in everybody's garden and then they go - but the illustrations are absolutely brilliant. They're high quality - almost like photographs if it wasn't for the fact that Jim Lad couldn't have eyes like that, could he? They're intricate, meticulous and a real pleasure to pour over. I spent about ten minutes wondering quite what Mr Jolley-Roger the pirate was doing working in the Complaints department of the local council!

The story is written in rhyme. It's just a little clunky in places but I wouldn't worry about that - your audience is going to be looking at the pictures and you'll be largely tuned out - which makes this a great book to give to children to look at on their own. If they are beginning to read there's plenty in the pictures to give them clues to any words they don't know - and if they can't read they can have lots of fun making up their own stories. There's even a lovely touch with the dust cover - normally nothing more than an annoying nuisance on children's books - which has a double fold and contains a family tree of the pirate family and on the reverse a large poster of the Jolley-Rogers. It's a fun and enjoyable book.

I'd like to thank the lovely people at Riot Communications who came up with a review copy when all else had failed.

For more pirates, we can recommend The Three Little Pirates by Georgie Adams and Emily Bolam for the youngest wannabe buccaneers, The Monkey Pirates by Mark Skelton and Ben Redlich or The Pirates' Treasure (Tumtum and Nutmeg) by Emily Bearn for the emerging reader, or the ultimate pirate picture book - An A to Z of Pirates by Caroline Stills and Heath McKenzie.

Please share on: Facebook Facebook, Follow us on Twitter Twitter and Follow us on Instagram Instagram

Buy The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle at


Like to comment on this review?

Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.