Pirate Pug: The dog who rocked the boat by Laura James
Ill. by Eglantine Ceulemans. Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781408895948.
(Age: 5-7) Recommended. Themes: Dogs, Adventure, Pirates, Sailing. Pirate Pug is the fourth fun adventure for this roly-poly pet and his owner Lady Miranda. Although Pug can't swim, they are off on a seaside, staying in the deluxe suite of the Smuggler's Rest Hotel, Pebbly Bay. Running Footmen Will and Liam are responsible for transporting the holidaymakers down to the beach in a sedan chair which comes in very handy along the way. An unfortunate accident with a beach ball sees Pug with an eye injury and he has to wear a pirate patch.
The town of Pebbly Bay is preparing for the annual parade, celebrating four hundred years of freedom from pirate rule. Lady Miranda and Pug meet the mayor who's wearing a special memorial chain that is snatched by Rio the parrot. A chase ensues, pitting Miranda and her new friends against three mean boys who've been throwing stones at Rio the parrot.
Ingeniously with Liam and Will's help the sedan chair becomes a galleon and the children are off sailing to Finders Keeper's Island. Laura James builds the tension and drama with Pug captured by the enemy gang, a sunken ship and finally everyone needs to work together to save the day.
Pirate Pug is written in large easy to read font, with colourful and engaging illustrations adding fun to this story. Laura James explores the themes of friendship, teamwork and how to face up to your fears. As a perfect transition from picture book to beginning chapter books, share the junior novel with Junior Primary classes opening up discussion about the characters' feelings and actions, interesting settings and narrative writing.