Jonny Duddle is the illustrator and author of some gorgeously illustrated picture books, all of which I have read, a couple of which I have reviewed (see below.) Now, Duddle takes his friendly pirate family from picture book The Pirates Next-Door and spins longer yarns with them and former, pirate loving neighbor and resident of the tiny town of Dull-on-Sea, Matilda in his debut chapter book series The Jolley-Rogers. Besides being fun and fascinating pirate packed mysteries, the books in this series are just plain gorgeous and perfectly suited to Duddle's richly detailed illustrations. The trim size is a bit larger than the traditional chapter book with parts of the title printed in metallic ink. And the interior illustrations are remarkably generous with images on almost every page, often flowing across two pages!
In the first book, The Jolley-Rogers and the Ghostly Galleon, the Dull-on-Sea Museum is burgled, causing all the towns folk to rush to hide and/or secure their valuables. Matilda sends a message in a bottle to her pal, Jim Lad, and the Jolley-Rogers turn their ship, the Black Hole, toward town. Once they dock, they get into their amphibious vehicle and get down to solving the mystery of the missing treasure.
In this first book, a crew of ghost pirates led by Cap'n Twirlybird, looking for a long lost key, the story of which is sung as a chantey by Grandpa Rogers. If you have read any of his picture books, you know that Duddle is great with a rhyme. Interestingly enough, Tilly's neighbor, the almost 100 year old Miss Pinky, just happens to have a strange key that her brother found in 1944 on the beaches of Normandy amidst the explosions. Once they have the key, Jim Lad and Tilly have to face the ghostly pirates and save their souls by unlocking a trunk that they don't want unlocked...
In the second book in the series, The Jolley-Rogers and the Cave of Doom, the crew of the Black Hole find themselves under the spell of three sea hags, bewitched by a magical haul of treasures and Matilda is the only person who can help them!
Books 2 & 3 in The Jolley-Rogers Series
Jonny Duddle's Pirate picture books
featuring the Jolley-Rogers
Source: Review Copy