Author/Illustrator: Rob Biddulph
Age Group: 2-6
Synopsis: Penguin Blue sets sail on a pirate-inspired adventure.
It’s no secret that we love Rob Biddulph. Bug chose Odd Dog Out to add to his reading quilt in January, making Rob Biddulph a permanent member of his literary life. And it’s easy to see why he’s captured us heart and soul. With a clever rhyming scheme and characters that don’t just roll over, Biddulph creates a magical space that every pirate-enthusiast can enjoy.
Our hero from Blown Away, makes an appearance as she dons a new pirate costume that has recently arrived via post. Her partners in crime, Flo & Jeff, also dress up and they head off to find Wilbur and Clive. All reunited, the crew head off across the great blue sea to find buried treasure. But, of course, all is thrown in to disarray as a cranky swordfish tears a hole in their plans and boat. Luckily, there is an island nearby. Unluckily, they and another shipwrecked soul are stuck there. However, as we learned in Blown Away, Penguin Blue is nothing if not resourceful. With limited resources they raise a sunken ship and head for home. The ship is then turned into the most amazing playground ever imagined.
As always Biddulph’s illustrations are bright, vibrant, and engaging. The colors are spectacular which can be a bit of a challenge when confronted with such a monochromatic landscape like the Antarctic. But Biddulph has no trouble adding in fun little details that keep kids pouring over pages. The undersea and pirate pages are just as interesting, starting with an authentic looking pirate map page that takes the crew through the seven seas. It continues through the rest of the story, adding in fun and helpful fish and a buccaneer Walrus, who comes complete with a fabulous mustache. Loyal fans will be rewarded with a plethora of cameos and fun little tidbits that pay tribute to Blown Away, so keep an eye out. However, the best page has to be the last one where the pirate ship has been transformed into the ultimate playground. Bug spends twice as much time on this page as the rest of the book, imagining which area of the playground he’d explore first and where he’d go from there.
I’m not sure I love Sunk as much as I loved Blown Away but I have to say that it is still pretty special in its own right. Bug especially enjoys it as he’s in the midst of a pirate craze. With a story that encourages scrappiness, ingenuity, and creativity while pairing that all with clever and engaging illustrations, you can’t go wrong. We’re eagerly awaiting Biddulph’s next amazing literary creation.
- Keep an eye out for that mischievous monkey from the first book.
- Watch the parrot and the treasure map.