Jonny Duddle

Captain Purplebeard and his crew of scary-looking pirates are hungry for treasure so when a gaunt-looking fiddle player wanders into the inn they are “refreshing” themselves at, singing about a buried treasure on a mysterious desert island, this grabs their attention straight away and they start dreaming about what they might do with such a find. They are so keen, the warnings from the fiddler that the island sometimes disappears and that nobody has ever returned safely fall onto deaf ears. But as they are getting closer to their destination, and the fiddler mentions in passing that there might just be a monster guarding the island, doubt start to settle amongst the ranks. But Captain Purplebeard is dead set on getting his treasure, whatever it takes! When they finally reach the island it is obvious to the reader that something nasty is lurking under water! And as soon as they get their grubby hands on the gold, CRUNCH! The pirate-cruncher swallows Captain Purplebeard and his motley crew! If only they had not been so greedy and had listened to the old fiddler, who, by the way, is the sole survivor. But it is little wonder, and eagle-eyed little readers will realise at the end that the fiddler is only a puppet, whose aim is to entice pirate crews straight into the monster’s mouth!

Pirate-lovers ahoy! This book was made for you! Oh yes, this is definitely one for little buccaneers, but what great fun it is too. I really enjoyed the artwork from newcomer Jonny Duddle (doesn’t that sound like a pirate’s name to you?). The artwork is vibrant and atmospheric but I also really enjoyed the layout:

The text  fits the atmosphere of the illustrations perfectly, and the song sung by the fiddler, in rhyming text, is very funny and clever.
That monster, half-kraken half-octopus, is a worthy pirate story monster. An there is a treasure map and plenty of piratey language and attitude to keep pirate fans happy. There is an extra large pull down page to reveal the Pirate-Cruncher lurking underneath the water (and at this point the reader realises that the island is actually the top of the monster’s head, which I found quite clever).

This is a great picture book which will delight pirate fans who are ready for longer picture books. A great bedtime read nonetheless, especially if you like having fun making grumpy pirate voices! Arghhhhhhhhhh!