The Little Pirate Queen
Written and illustrated by Sally Anne Garland
Reviewed by Sandy Driessens
‘A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor’ – Franklin D. Roosevelt. This quotation on the dedication page defines the message of this heartening story.
Every week, Lucy sails across the sea on her rickety raft trying to find Far Away Island. Out of necessity, she learns to repair her boat and has become quite a good sailor, but she is saddened when she is passed by other children with little boats that are new, faster and sturdier than her own.
Then one morning, a storm comes and sweeps her and the other children into the crashing water and far from land. Lucy’s little raft is damaged, but as she discovers, it has fared far better than the other little boats. Using her acquired skills, she rescues the other children and teaches them, not only how to repair her boat, but also how to build a great, big, pirate ship from the salvaged parts of their vessels. Together, they set sail for Far Away Island but does Lucy disembark with the other children to find the promised treasure?
This story is so descriptive and emotive that it creates wonderful pictures in the mind and could be read without viewing the illustrations. Of course, the easy-to-read font, that Garland used in her previous story, woven into the illustrations does enhance the text. Her vintage 50’s style use of scratchy crayon and paint, brings the movement of crashing waves and swirling winds. The children are delightful and their features, expressive. Lucy, herself, is very Scottish- looking and the blue/greys of the sky bring the chilly, North Atlantic Ocean to mind, though Far Away Island looks distinctly tropical.
I particularly liked her seagull friend, who is introduced on the cover. It shares Lucy’s adventures and emotions. Though it may be read as an adventure story for little ones, Sally Anne Garland has created another lovely book with a message, for little and not-so-little Pirate Queens and Kings, who may be sailing rough seas. Encouraging resilience creates a strength and skillset that, if harnessed, can be shared for the benefit of others met on life’s journey … a book to be shared.