The Book That Made Me: Jeremy Strong 13/07/20
The Pirate Tree
Publisher: Lantana Publishing
Sam’s tree is her pirate ship. She has a sheet for a sail and a rope for an anchor and she is wary of other sailors in her midst. Agu is a newcomer, from another street and with no friends of his own, but he knows about the warm seas that Sam is imagining, and he can tell her about the distant land of Nigeria, where he has come from. Sam and Agu play together in the tree in a make-believe world of desert islands and stormy seas, and when it’s time for lunch, Sam asks Agu to sail with her again.
This gentle story is atmospheric and sensitively told. Sam feels wary of the new kid, but when she realises he can disappear into her story, she’s glad to have him as her shipmate. The story touches lightly on acceptance, but does not point at Agu’s race overtly. It could be useful for other new situations like moving house or starting school; playing together is better than playing alone and we can always learn and expand our own horizons by listening to others.
The pretty illustrations are delicate and inviting and the text and vocabulary are suited to a slightly older reader.