Captain Jack and the Pirates

There can be little doubt that the most widely popular contemporary poetry is children’s poetry. The most popular examples of this poetry are hidden in plain sight as poetic works; in the form of richly illustrated picturebooks . The likes of The Gruffalo and the rest of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s collaborations must be among the most read poems in the English language ever, and Helen Oxenbury is best known for her illustrations of another mega-success of the genre, Michael Rosen’s We’re All Going On a Bear Hunt. The illustrations of Captain Jack and the Pirates, a companion to the same team’s King Jack and the Dragon, are naturally similar to the Oxenbury/Rosen book, but there are important differences.

This is a story of three boys, Jack, Zak and Caspar, ‘brave mariners three’, and their adventures at the seaside. In rhyme we are told of how they transform a family day out at the beach into a dazzlingly exciting piratical adventure. The ever popular pirate milieu is given a fresh, engaging spin. Colour illustrations are used for the imaginary scenes, and black-and-white for the real ones. Unlike We're Going on a Bear Hunt, the text is not focused on making noises, but engages readers with rhythm and rhyme. Younger children will enjoy being read to and older children will enjoy reading the exciting , beautifully presented story.