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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Jonny Duddle started the Jim and Matilda series with the very successful picture books The Pirate Cruncher and The Pirates Next Door. These funny, brightly colored, amusingly illustrated and ripping books introduced Jim the pirate lad and his friend Matilda, as well as Jim's entire pirate family.

In a great creative stroke, Duddle has moved on to write and illustrate a series of graphic chapter books that follow upon the picture books and feature the same characters and settings. As a consequence a kid can start with the picture books. If he or she likes them then this chapter book and its sequels just naturally draw them along to the next reading level. So, this ends up as a series a little reader can grow with. What a nice plan.

And these are worth getting into. The story here is that ghost pirates are raiding pirate museums, gathering pirate treasure. They land at Dull-on-Sea and clean out the local Museum. Matilda sends a message in a bottle to Jim and his family, and they arrive to help stop the ghost pirates. SPOILER. It turns out that there is something important in Dull-on-Sea that could send the ghost pirates away for good and so the race is on between the ghosts and Matilda/Jim to see who can get the whatchamacallit first.

This book has great appeal. There are lots of funny bits, frantic action, clever wordplay, deadpan humor, and some sly bits for adults. Matilda and Jim are cheerful and resourceful can-do heroes. Added appeal arises from the nice match between the graphic aspect and the printed words. This is not a "comic" or a pure graphic novel, but more along the lines of a very heavily illustrated book. The drawings are black and white, but heavily detailed and exaggerated in an amusing fashion. They also clarify what's been written and so help a younger reader avoid confusion and follow the story, which can be a bit antic and breathless.

The upshot is that this book is entertaining, good-natured, funny and pretty exciting. While it stands alone just fine it's also a great extension of Duddle's pirate series for the picture book crowd, which just strikes me as a swell idea. A very nice and satisfying find.
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on 5 July 2014
I bought this, having already enjoyed The Pirates Next Door. I was a bit surprised when it arrived to find it smaller, thicker and much more wordy. Still, the recipient nephew is a year older now, and his reading improves, so that's probably a good thing.

Great book, great as a graduated step along from the last one, just be aware of what you're buying.
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on 2 May 2014
My five year old picked this off the shelf in the library because he recognised the illustrations from the pirates next door which he loves. He hardly put it down over the next couple of days as he enjoyed it so much. The story is entertaining and engaging and very cleverly builds on the characters from the Pirates next Door. The illustrations are brilliant - very detailed and imaginative. Simeon's already excited about the prospect of a sequel in the Autumn.

Just to be clear this is not a picture book but a young readers book - probably to the standard of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Secret Seven/ Famous Five- although with more illustrations.
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on 29 January 2015
Awesome book. My eldest daughter (6) is heavily into pirates, so this book is just perfect. Bought it as a follow on from some of Jonny Duddle's other books. This is more like a normal book rather than the big, colourful, rhyming Pirates Next Door or The Pirate Cruncher, with proper chapters and a good long story. There are also plenty of illustrations, black and white not colour though. All in all another fantastic book from Mr Duddle!
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on 11 January 2016
A great story for primary school children; there is a lot of action and the story is a little bit like Pirates of the Carribbean with ghost pirates, without being too threatening. There is a glossary at the back to help with pirate-speak!
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on 31 March 2015
This is my 4 year olds favourite book ever. He loved Pirates next door but I thought I might be taking a chance with Ghostly Galleon as it is a novel approx 150 pages with limited illustrations. I thought he may struggle to follow it without the illustrations but because he knew Jim lad and Matilda and the Jolley Rogers characters from PND he loved it. He is obsessed by it we have read it 7 times now and he only got in February. I had to limit him to a few chapters a night but always gave in after pleads for one more. It was layed out brilliantly to create intrigue for younger readers. He loves the villain Twirleybeard and is counting the days to the release of Cave of Doom the next installment from Johnny Duddle - can't recommend this highly enough to get your child commited to and excited about reading.
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on 7 March 2015
My son really enjoys this book,we sit and read it together and he really likes the pictures in this story. This is a must for any child who loves a good mystery with pirates. This is quite a thick book, that is not too big and was a great price. Recommended.
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on 13 May 2014
My son is a real fan of JD's other releases. I bought this as I think it will serve him well as he learns to read. This is a book for slightly older children as it is more of a novel than a short story. However, it is really good for reading to them as it has loads of illustrations. As for the story, I haven't read it all yet so I can't say, but if you like Jonny Duddle you will enjoy this.
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on 10 August 2015
A proper novel, not a "picture book" and I wondered if my four (and three quarters) was ready for it. I need not have worried because he adores it and I enjoy ready it to him.
Great story, lovely illustrations and a plenty of humour.
I might be mistaken but I think many of the neighbours from "the Pirates Next Door" seem to make cameos in the queue for the bank!
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on 23 September 2014
Great. I read this to my boys over several nights and they loved it. Am now waiting for my eldest (7) to read it by himself, as he was very enthusiastic about it. Probably a 7 year old child at a British school could manage this already, mine is behind on reading in English...
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