Friday 5 October 2012

Our second book of the week - "The Pirates Next Door" by Jonny Duddle (Templar Publishing)

It is a bit cheeky having two "Book of the Week" nominations, but we're like that here at ReadItDaddy. So cheeky you could tweak our cheeks for a week!

Stopping by Mostly Books last week we picked up a brace of scintillating titles and it was too tough a call to decide between Levi Pinfold's sublime "Black Dog"  and this superb book.

Jonny Duddle has quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in children's books, and he weaves a pirate tale with style and expertise. We've already reviewed his superb book "The Pirate Cruncher"  and we've been after "The Pirates Next Door" for quite some time. Available previously in hardback, it has now been released as a superb paperback edition with an audio CD - a reading of the story by the great man himself.

With Mr Duddle's career riding the crest of a wave (a film based on his piratical characters, produced in conjunction with Aardman Animation, has received critical acclaim and is now available on Blu Ray and DVD), it's a timely re-release of (arguably) his best book.

"The Pirates Next Door" weaves a moral tale of twitchy curtains and neighbourhood unrest spliced by the mainbrace with a piratical tale of a young girl called Matilda, who longs for a playmate to move in to the empty house next door. She gets better than she bargained for when a whole family of seafaring pirates move in, and change her life forever. She instantly becomes firm friends with Jim Lad, the pirate boy and becomes enthralled by his piratical ways.

Others in her neighbourhood (including her sniffy middle class parents) don't quite take to the newcomers as readily. Some say they smell, some say they dig up roundabouts in the dead of night, and some campaign at the council offices to get rid of the Jolley Rogers (as the family are called). But Matilda stands firm in her friendship of Jim Lad and defends them to the hilt.

The rest of the tale I'll leave you to discover yourself. The Audio CD version of the book is ridiculously reasonably priced for such a plush and beautifully presented story. Duddle's artwork and illustrative style is something I truly envy. Dabbling in digital art (his preferred medium) myself, I know how tough it is to get rich vibrant colours and engaging character work to look as beautifully made and as perfect as Duddle seems to manage with ease.

We can't get enough of this story and we can't get enough of Duddle's other artwork, so it's a fitting book of the week and as we've said many times before, Templar Publishing really know how to pick the cream of the crop when it comes to authors and artists.

Charlotte's best bit: Too many to mention, she really loved the fact that Matilda is holding a placard with a 'tick' on it and not a cross at the 'anti pirate' lobby (I didn't notice this, she did, clever girl!). She also loves the way Grandpa Pirate hides in the ship most of the time.

Daddy's favourite bit: Dullsville twinned with Ennui Sur Mer gave me a giggle. Most of all though I just love Duddle's art and really wish I could somehow emulate his style (impossible with my pathetic skills but I'll keep trying!)

A ReadItDaddy Book of the Week