BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: The Pirate Tree (available here)
Author: Brigita Orel
Illustrator: Jennie Poh
Publication Date: September 2019
Most Suitable For: Years 1-3
Reviewed by: Nathan Wilcox, Primary School Teacher
The Pirate Tree is a book that, like all great pirate stories, has a vast amount of hidden treasure under the surface.
In the story, we meet Sam and Agu who bond over their adventures on a pirate ship - which is in actual fact a gnarled old tree at the top of a hill. As they battle sharks and other imaginary pirates together, Sam and Agu form a friendship that at first appeared to be a little unlikely. They begin to understand that differences are something to be celebrated as there is so much more we can learn through diversity.
The Pirate Tree does a good job of challenging how we see people who appear different, encouraging the reader to think about how we can be more inclusive. When Agu first asks to play with Sam, she tells him that he can’t play because he’s new and not from her street. But in actual fact, Sam has a lot to learn about sailing from Agu who teaches her about his own background and experiences in Nigeria. There is so much that could be explored in the book; it would encourage some great discussions around how we see others and see diversity as a positive rather than a negative.
The book’s illustrations accompany the text superbly. The natural textures and patterns on each page make it a lovely book to read slowly so as to allow enough time to take in the details - such as the bow tie or top-hat-wearing fish! I can see so many uses for this in the classroom as it would be a great circle-time book to bring up deeper discussions about how we learn by listening to others and in doing so, form strong connections and friendships.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Nathan for reviewing it.