Diddle, Jonny The Jolley-Rogers and the Ghostly Galleon (Book #1), 137 pgs Templar (Candlewick), 2015. $6.99. Content: Language: PG (3(H) swears ); Mature Content: G Violence: PG
Matilda hometown, Dull-on-Sea is raided by ghostly pirates! When her friend, Jim Lad, a real pirate boy, comes to town on his families ship the Blackhole, they hatch a plan to help. First Matilda will have to get a big key from her elderly friend, then they will use it bribe the ghost pirates to give back what they stole and go away. When that doesn't work, with a helpful dog and parrot, will Matilda and Jim be able to send those ghosts back to Davey Jones Locker room?
The story is fantastic and the illustrations are SO incredible, its like watching a movie! Alas, a few easily fixable issues bring the rating from Essential to NO. Its labelled as first in a series, but it turns out that a book called The Pirates Next Door is where the characters first met, and the reader can tell something is off. There is also a drastic format/reading level mismatch. It is 100% formatted as an early chapter book, like for 1st-2nd graders with lots of illustrations and a large font size, but it’s a way higher reading level than that, with a complex plot, tricky vocabulary, authentic pirate terminology, and British slang. But the killer for me, is the following: The references to drinking and the multiple use of the word Hell, which at least here in Utah, can be a problem with the many conservative upper grade readers, but especially younger grade readers and their parents. I am just plain grumpy about not being able to add this to my library.
EL (K-3) – NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.