'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 3 July 2017

Review: The Treasure of Pirate Frank

This book had me at ‘pirate', but it is so much more than that.

The Treasure of Pirate Frank is a fun and engaging read-aloud picture book with an awesome message about learning not to make assumptions about people.

The story is about a young and brave explorer who sets off on a quest to find the mysterious treasure of Pirate Frank. 

He climbs mountains, crosses swamps and navigates a volcano to get to the ‘X’ that marks the spot. He finds the treasure and Pirate Frank, but it turns out Pirate Frank is a feisty young girl, and she has no intention of parting with her treasure.

I loved this picture book and its message. It’s very subtle and beautifully embedded into the story, so children won’t spot it as a lesson. But I think it’s important to show kids that pirates don’t have to be boys and making assumptions based on limited information (like just a name) can lead you astray.

But don’t think this story is in any way just a moral. The story is fantastic even without the message. Written in a repetitive rhyming style, it’s like a game of memory, with parts of the narrative repeated on each page along with the next part of our young explorer's quest to find the gold.

It is such a delight to read aloud, and it won’t take long for the kids to pick up on the pattern and start reciting the story with you. For this reason, I think it would be a great choice for reading to a larger audience. It’s very engaging and will easily get kids involved in the storytelling. 

And then there are the illustrations. This is my first Jez Tuya book, and I found his illustrations awe-inspiring. So much colour, so much detail, so much fun. And I loved the addition of the young explorer’s pirate sidekick dog, complete with pirate eye patch.

Husband and wife duo Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham have written a story that has it all. As one of the last picture books they wrote together before Mal sadly passed away in 2015, The Treasure of Pirate Frank is a special book and a wonderful tribute to Mal’s writing talent.

Title: The Treasure of Pirate Frank
Author: Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham
Illustrator: Jez Tuya
Publisher: Nosy Crow, $24.99
Publication Date: 28 June 2017
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780857638892
For ages: 3 - 6
Type: Picture Book