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Swashbuckle Lil: The Secret Pirate by Elli Woollard, illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson

Lil was a pirate, a swashbuckling pirate,

Whose home was a ship with great sails,

Who had travelled the seas in the blustery breeze

And had ridden the waves with huge whales...

Given the above stanza you would think that Lil would be entitled to some respect. But no. Inexplicably, no-one will believe that she's really a pirate with important swashbuckling rescuing to do. Instead they just think she's being naughty, especially when she inadvertently ties up her headmaster while trying to capture the evil pirate Stinkbeard. Miss Lubber, Lil's class teacher, is especially disapproving of Lil's piratical ways. She's not even grateful when Lil saves the school sports day from Stinkbeard's man-eating pet crocodile. Teachers, eh? Fortunately, Lil has her loyal parrot companion, Carrot, to provide support and assistance in her adventures.

I really wanted to write this review in rhyme, but rhyme is such a difficult thing to do well that it's best to leave it to an expert. Elli Woollard is just such a person; her lovely, lively, humorously rhyming book is perfect for beginner readers, or as a read-aloud for a younger child. It's one of my favourite books for young readers so far this year, and Lil is brilliantly brought to life by Laura Ellen Anderson's sparky and generous illustrations. Do not miss this.


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