The Pirates are Coming! by John Condon and Matt Hunt

The Pirates are Coming by John Condon and Matt Hunt

A standout pirate tale that gives the ‘crying wolf’ story (where, after a while, people become fed up and take very little or no notice) a fresh and original twist.

Every day, Tom climbs to the top of the hill to keep a lookout for pirates. No one has seen pirates for a very long time but Tom knows they will be back. He waits, and waits, and then – when she sees what he thinks is a pirate ship – he rushes into village shouting: ‘The Pirates are Coming! Quick! Everybody Hide!’ The villagers do as he says to begin with but by the third false alarm they are moving very slowly. The fourth time, they ignore him altogether. There is just one problem – this time the pirates really HAVE arrived!

A story about pirates is almost guaranteed to appeal to a large number of children in the picture book age bracket (an age where the idea of ‘pirates’ bears little resemblance to reality). This particular pirate story is, however, likely to have a much wider appeal. Why? Because it has an impressive and unexpected twist that will entertain older children and adults. I don’t want to give too much away, so all I will say is that it challenged my assumptions and made me laugh out loud. It is rare that I’m not able to guess the ending and I loved this!

The text itself is pitched exactly right for the age, with good use of repetition to appeal to those children who like joining in when the text is familiar. The publisher’s decision to vary the shape and the size of the font complements this, adding extra excitement.

The illustrations by Matt Hunt are highly stylised with deliberate child-like outlines and flat two dimensional colours. There’s also plenty of detail in the pictures for inquisitive eyes and minds. When they finally appear, we are introduced to a group of stereotypical pirates with the complete costume and even a few parrots. There is just one thing that isn’t stereotypical but you will have to read the book to find out!

If you enjoyed this and are looking for another picture book with a pirate theme, I’d recommend you try Pizza for Pirates by Adam Guillain, Charlotte Guillain and Lee Wildish or, maybe, The Pirate Who Lost His Name by Lou Treleaven and Genie Espinosa. Alternatively, if the clever twist is the reason you loved this book, I’d suggest you get hold of copy of what is now one of my all-time favourite picture books – Bonkers about Beetroot by Cath Jones and Chris Jevons.

ISBN:  978-1788006798
Publication date: Febuary 2020
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Pages: 32
Madge's 5 / 5 Star Book rating

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