Pirate Nell’s Tale to Tell: A Storybook Adventure by Helen Docherty, illustrated by Thomas Docherty


Pirate Nell’s Tale to Tell: A Storybook Adventure by Helen Docherty, illustrated by Thomas Docherty. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky,  9781492698678, 2020

Format:  Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review)  5

What did you like about the book:   A fun rhyming text with colorful detailed illustrations of Nell, the girl pirate.   She has joined the ship of Captain Gnash, who does not like books.  Nell, on the other hand, can be found with her Pirate’s Almanac and a wealth of pirate knowledge from all her reading.   She is full of hope and ready for adventures at sea, and the crew loves hearing all her stories, but the Captain acts like a bully, snapping orders for her to mop floors and clean pots.  Then one night she finds a bottle with a treasure map.  Now real adventure lay ahead.  Except the Captain steals the map from her while sleeping and steers them into a storm to find the treasure.  He falls overboard and Nell comes to the rescue to save him and bring the ship to the island they were searching for.   The pirates dig for treasure and find chest after chest full of BOOKS. “There’s treasure right here in these pages!  These books are like a magic key to other worlds, beyond the sea.”  Nell teaches them all to read and opens a floating library for all.  And Captain Gnash changes his ways – he now spends his days reading stories and studying Nell’s Almanac.

The full color illustrations were created with acrylic ink and hot-pressed watercolor paper.  They support the text beautifully and I especially enjoyed the end pages that contain a side cutaway of the pirate ship.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?   A fantastic read aloud for the school library and especially during “Talk Like A Pirate Day” reading celebrations.  Our elementary kids love hearing pirate stories and creating treasure maps and this one will be enjoyed over and over.  I can’t wait to share it with them next fall.

Who should buy this book?  elementary schools, home and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ?  Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Julie Durmis, J.C. Solmonese Elementary School, Norton, MA

Date of review:  October 26, 2020

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