Rating: 3 Stars
Headline: Childhood imaginations run wild in this fun picture book of bath time pirates
Thar She Blows! by Klam Burley (illustrated by Francesca Da Sacco) is a children’s picture book which tells the story of Bobby, a young pirate with a rascally parrot companion and a fearsome sea monster to battle. But is Bobby’s dangerous encounter all as it seems?
There is much to commend this book, including the humorous plot twist halfway through which changed the story’s direction to draw children back to a relatable environment. Children are well-known for having broad, colourful imaginations, although I would probably not have been as understanding as Bobby’s mother if I walked into a flooded bathroom!
The illustrations are nicely done, the bird’s eye perspective of the mythical sea monster flavours on the mildly surreal (think Studio Ghibli) and the slightly cartoonish depiction of Bobby maintains a sweet sense of innocence. The two forms balance each other well. The addition of hidden rubber ducks on each page adds an additional layer of engagement for parents and children; having these peppered throughout hints toward the plot twist to come.
The copy in this book could, however, be tightened. I know a good deal of adults who do not know what a semicolon is, let alone small children. In my opinion the use of this punctuation mark should not exist in a book aimed at this age demographic. The sentences are also long and clunky in places, for me the poetry did not flow naturally and I ended up having to reread pages to marry-up what sometimes could be better described as half-rhymes. Personally I think the writing would have been better as prose.
Thar She Blows! comes from a solid place. It is well illustrated and is full of the heart and charm needed for a picture book of its type. If elements of the copy were addressed Burley could find herself onto a real winner.
Reedsy Discovery Review: https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/thar-she-blows-kimberly-amboy
Purchase link: Thar She Blows!