The Pirate Tree
Brigita Orel and Jennie Poh
Inspired by a weathered tree in which she sits, young captain Sam sails the high seas on her pirate ship.
Suddenly though, she’s approached by another ‘sailor’ who asks to play.
“I don’t know you. You’re not from my street” comes her reply and she carries on sailing her ship solo and talking of plundering ships;
she mentions ‘diamonds from Nigeria’. At this Agu feels bound to correct her, for it’s his home country and he tells her so, talking of sailing on a ship too.
Sam then invites the newcomer aboard, albeit somewhat hesitantly but she discovers that her co-sailor knows a fair bit about how to sail and together they voyage to a deserted island and defeat pirates from a rival boat.
When Sam’s Dad calls ‘dinner time!’
it’s a rather more reluctant buccaneer who leaves her companion, having first asked his name and invited him to become her fellow crew member again.
Agu’s longing for a friend is palpable in this story and I have to say that Sam’s initial treatment of the newcomer shocked me. Happily though, the time spent together has shown Sam that friendship is the way to go, just as Agu had hoped.
Jennie Poh’s mixed media and natural textures were digitally combined and her illustrations seem to have a deliberate static feel until such time as Sam invites Agu aboard her ship, after which there’s a satisfying flow about them.
Brigita Orel’s story shows children how it’s important to be open to new friendships that can be mutually rewarding, enriching our own life and those of others.