Book Review: “Thar She Blows!” by Klam Burley (Illustrated by Francesca Da Sacco)

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.

AEB Reviews


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Purchase link: Thar She Blows!


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My Sister, On…

This post is dedicated to my lovely little sister, Bubba B.

It’s also dedicated to my old photo achieves I’ve been trawling through with zero regard to common decency. She let me take these photographs, she knew what she was signing herself up to five/six years later.

(At least that’s what my lawyers will say.)

*Cough* anyway, here we go.

My Sister, On…

My Sister, On…Contemporary Art

My Sister, On…Prehistory

(My Sister, On…World Domination of Prehistory)

My Sister, On…Geology

India On…Hipster Coffee

My Sister, On…Making Friends

My Sister, On…Interior Design

My Sister, On…Cultural Portrayals of the Female Body

My Sister, On…Wine Tasting

My Sister, On…Home Removals

My Sister, On…Interpretive Dance

My Sister, On…Travel

My Sister, On…Motivational Talks

(And finally – for now) My Sister, On…Questionable Photography

There you have it! Stay awesome, sister of the sea.

(PS, because no one is perfect…)

Alice On…Literature(?)

Yeah, I’ve no idea either.

(There may be an “Alice On…” sequel, or two, coming soon.)


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UK Christmas TV Adverts 2020

This post has been sparked off my Mumma B, who only the other day asked me about this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert.

The thing is, she comments about the lack of visibility, but at the same time records everything on her YouView box purposely to skip all the adverts. You see the dilemma here?

Basically I’m posting all the Christmas adverts for the main UK players so that my mum can see them in one place (and once only).

I’ll add to the list as and when any additional companies release theirs (please do also poke me with a metaphorical stick in the comments). Otherwise lets get to it! In no particular order…

UK Christmas TV Adverts (2020)

John Lewis / Waitrose Supermarket

Aldi Supermarket

Lidl Supermarket

Walkers Crisps


TK Maxx




Tesco Supermarket

Asda Supermarket

Morrisons Supermarket

Sainsburys Supermarket



Dreamies Cat Treats

M&S Food




Ralph Lauren

(Disclaimer: All videos above have been lifted from YouTube via the URL. I don’t own any part of these videos.)


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Anyone Else Remember the Surreal “Sooty and Sweep” Episode with the Explosives?

What does it say about me and my childhood that my favourite episode of any children’s TV show I ever watched as a kid centred around puppets throwing bombs at children and animals?

Yes, you heard me, bombs. As Soo the Panda light-heartedly jokes, they were the “Bun Disposal Squad”, so I suppose if you’re going to be really pedantic then you’d say they were joke exploding cream cakes. However I’ll let you watch the entire length of the episode and leave you to make your own minds up.

I think the worst bit is that I actually re-watched this episode at gone midnight one recent Saturday night. No, scratch that, the worst bit is that I STILL love this episode. The 1990s were are an interesting decade, almost naïve of what was to come. Man, I miss growing up then.

Perfectly acceptable viewing

Something it’s taken me twenty years to notice, mind…Matthew (the guy running the shop), he has a wedding ring and seemingly lives in the attached residences (with all the puppets, but let’s choose to overlook that). Where’s his wife/husband/other?

If that question hasn’t blown your minds a little then you need to seriously rethink how you conduct yourself. Weirdo.

Oh, hang about! I’ve just found my second favourite episode of anything ever, the episode of Sooty and Sweep where everyone starts sniffing suspicious substances to change their voices.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, you’re all weirdos.