Thursday 2 August 2012

The Pink Pirate

  The Pink Pirate by Michelle Worthington, illustrated by Karen Mounsey-Smith (Little Steps Publishing)
PB RRP $17.95
ISBN 9781921928932
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

Six-year-old Georgia, the daughter of Ginger John who captains the Jolly Jellyfish, can “swim like a dolphin, do backflips off the gangplank, climb the rigging like a monkey” and does sword practice daily. Though without a son who he’d hoped to pass his ship on to once too old to pillage and plunder, John refuses to teach Georgia how to steer the ship. He makes her wear a pink dress, with buttons, and bows and says girls can’t be captains!

A caring father, he bundles her below deck as Captain Blackboots and his crew arrive. From the galley, Georgia hears Blackboots and gang invade, and her father’s crew scattering. The ship drifts with the tide and Georgia realizes nobody is steering. It is her chance to prove herself. She dons Dad’s spare hat and sword and sneeks out, hiding behind the ship’s wheel. In her fiercest captain’s voice she orders Blackboots to “surrender or suffer the consequences.”

He turns on her but she climbs the rigging, slashing the canvas so it falls on top of Blackboots and gang, trapping them. Dad and his crew toss them back onto their ship and Dad declares Georgia to be the best pirate ever. Wearing a purple pirate suit, complete with hat, she “sails away into the sunset, knowing that you can be anything you want to be, as long as you believe in yourself.”

Bright, lively, Illustrations combine with strong text to show a wide array of character emotions. They make it obvious that Georgia’s father is her hero and that she is the apple of his eye. Readers will sympathise with how gutted she appears when he has no choice but to order her below deck. Likewise, images of her frustration when she hears Blackboots get the better of her father’s crew and her joy when she is recognised for her success and finally allowed to be herself will connect with readers. The ship’s cat and mice appear in every spread: in fun battles with each other, unified in sorrow when the ship is taken over, sharing their joy by giving each other high-fives when it’s won. Publisher’s notes say this is for 2-6 year olds though it will appeal to older readers too.

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