Just Imagine

The Pirate Tree

Authored by Brigita Orel
Illustrated by Jennie Poh
Published by Lantana Publishing

A thoughtful picture book on the joy of meeting someone new.

The sometimes-a-pirate-ship tree sits on the hill, with its rope for an anchor and sheet for a sail. Agu is finding it hard to make friends, be patient his auntie tells him. There’s a moment of suspicion, but Agu intrigues Sam with his knowledge of diamonds and sailing, “What else do you know?” and the adventure begins.

The setting is ambiguous, but Agu, who has moved from Nigeria, is an outsider in Sam’s world. Their differences soon become trivial and the reader is shown how two seemingly different children form a bond. And it’s lovely.

Although imagination is a strong theme, this book is actually more about the birth of friendship and the ease at which children can form bonds. Sam only asks Agu what his name is at the end of the story highlighting it’s the playing that brought them together. This also hints that their friendship continues, which is a nice talking point at the end of the book.

I enjoyed the personification of the tree, which starts and ends the story, and the connection to nature throughout. There are some beautiful phrases.

The Pirate Tree would be a perfect book for guided reading in KS1. There are huge opportunities for discussions and activities, which will really hook the children.