I have to admit that I was not quite taken with Captain Sparklebeard at first. I found the Cinderella style opening a bit old fashioned and I thought it all might be too wacky for Little P to understand. But I could not have been more wrong! This is one of those special books that immediately engages preschoolers.
By day Peg works hard for her wicked step great grand Auntie (!) but at night she reads books filled with pirate stories. She dreams of heading off on her own pirate adventure and when the pirates come to town she sees her chance of escape. But when Peg asks Captain Hairy Ears if she can join his crew he just laughs. Who ever heard of a small, polite pirate who reads books! And she doesn’t even have a beard!! This makes Peg more determined then ever so she gets to work making a pirate costume from curtains and a beard from the sweeping brush. A little extra sparkle from her Auntie’s jewellery box and Captain Sparklebeard is born.
When Captain Sparklebeard turns up in her boat made from books Captain Hairy Ears and his crew are unimpressed. Who ever heard of a boat made from books?!! But Peg is certain she will find the treasure before the pirates. Using her ingenuity and her reading skills she makes her way through whirl pools, past sea monsters and over underwater volcanoes. Finally she reaches Treasure Island where X marks the spot. Captain Hairy Ears and his crew are so impressed, even when they find out that Captain Sparklebeard is really a little girl, they beg her to teach them to read and let them join her crew. And so a small little girl who reads books becomes the greatest pirate that ever was!!
Little P LOVES Captain Sparklebeard and so do I. It’s a truly child-centric book with so many positive messages that never interfere with the fun of the story. The illustrations are brilliantly bold and provide another element of the story with perilous maps and cheeky sea creatures. This has to score a ten out of ten on the P-OMETER. OOH-ARR!!
Captain Sparklebeard written by Timothy Knapman and illustrated by Sam Lloyd is published by Egmont. ISBN: 978-1-4052-9131-6