Penguin Blue is finally back in this swashbuckling pirate adventure that will be adored by children and adults alike. Pure gold.
Hoist the Colours! Set the Sail! It’s time to hit the treasure trail. Penguin Blue and his friends are prepared to sail the seven seas in search of gold but they become unstuck when a rip in their ship means they’re suddenly SUNK! Luck is, however, on their side and they find a handy desert island in the nick of time. Here they make a special new friend and ultimately find a treasure that’s worth much more than gold.
After the phenomenal success of Penguin Blue in Rob Biddulph’s debut picture book Blown Away, our favourite penguin is finally back and this swashbuckling pirate adventure is pure gold.
On the surface the story is very simply but don’t be deceived – it has an inventive depth, and a heart-warming message about friendship, that will allow repeated reading without becoming repetitive. (I especially like the fantastical but strangely feasible way they raise the pirate ship from the ocean bed using kelp, puffer fish and a whale.) It’s also skilfully told in Rob Biddulph’s characteristic rhyme.
The carefully crafted text is complimented by the colourful and clear pictures in Rob’s distinctive style. Again, the pictures give a first impression of simplicity but there is incredible detail in almost every one, from the penguin’s pirate outfits in the opening pages to the spectacular final page where the pirate’s galleon has been transformed: eager young eyes will want to spend a very long time studying all the various activities in this theme park playground for penguins.
There is also wonderful characterisation in the pictures. The penguins are appealing but it was the polar bear, Clive, with his snorkel and the seal cabin boy, Wilbur, who really captured my heart.
While the words and pictures both work well separately, it is the interplay between the two that give this book its five star rating. I couldn’t resist smiling at the fact that Penguin Blue’s pirate ship is, in fact, a little orange dingy and I chuckled when I first saw the picture explaining how it becomes ripped.
If you enjoyed this, you might like to read Penguin Blue’s first adventure in the award-wining Blown Away. Or, for an alternative pirate adventure, why not try Pizza for Pirates by Adam Guillain, Charlotte Guillain and Lee Wildish or Pirates Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort.
Date: July 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Author: Rob Biddulph
Review first published on The Bookbag