Jonny Duddle explores themes of tolerance and being a good neighbour with gentle humour yet with the pinpoint accuracy of caricature as he describes the reaction of the inhabitants of Dull-on-Sea (twinned with Ennui-sur-Mer) when the Jolly Rogers family moves in. This exceptionally well crafted picture book exploits every feature to the full – the jacket features the Jolly Rogers family tree full of visual jokes and word-play fun which then opens up to form a poster. Even the book information page has been transformed into the hull of the pirate ship with all the requisite information and a dedication that charms jostling amongst labels for the ‘landsickness tablets’ and ‘finest cutlass polish’! The text flows as it rhymes naturally into patterns of phrasing and speech that demand different ‘voices’ and intonation to match the characters. The illustrations gallop the reader through the narrative yet have a wealth of details that entrance. The gatefolds engage as children try to match the houses with the Jolly Rogers family’s neighbours.
A vital, amusing, brilliant, educational book! Jonny Duddle is a writer/illustrator at the top of his game.