“ Authors: Julia Jarman,Lynne Chapman / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 28 March 2009 / Genre: Picture Storybooks / Publisher: Hachette Children's Books / Title: Class Three All at Sea / ISBN 13: 9780340944660 / ISBN 10: 0340944660 / Alternative EAN: 9780340944653 „
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Class Three all at Sea is written by Julia Jarman and illustrated by Lynne Chapman, tells of an exciting day when Class Three goes off on a trip out to sea.
It starts off as the class is waiting on the quay and we see the children's excited faces watching donkeys dancing and seagulls skimming stones. However, there is something in the background that they don't see - a skull and cross bones! They board the boat, happily donning life jackets, blissfully unaware that danger is very near. Eventually the pirates board the ship and behave very badly towards the children, their teacher and the crew. A little boy called Lenny is made to walk the plank by the mean pirates and it's a jolly good thing he does because he eventually saves the day. He alerts some rather large octopuses who rescue the children by going on board and tying all the pirates in knots with their tentacles! The children then head towards the pirates' secret island where, much to their excitement, they discover lots of treasure!
That's a very simplified account of a funny little story. I read it with both my daughters, aged three and five, who enjoyed it very much. However, when we first looked through the book before actually reading the story, they did find some of the pictures of the pirates quite disconcerting. I have to agree that they all do look rather scary. I did assure them that there would be a happy ending and once they knew this they were then quite happy to read the book with me.
The story is written entirely in rhyme which the girls enjoyed particularly as they are both quite good at supplying the rhyming words. I sometimes found it quite difficult to read aloud though as the lines were not set out in the way I would expect. A two line rhyming couplet could be set out over three or four lines of text and it was not always obvious where the natural breaks were. I kept finding myself having to re-read parts in order to gain the rhythm. Having said that though there is some very enjoyable language in the story. This is particularly true of the wonderful names given to the pirates - Pirate Bogey-Nose, Pirate Fish-Breath-Frank and Chief Rotten Teeth!
The text is set out in an interesting way. There are many words written in bold print or made bigger than others and these all help to give emphasis when you are reading the story. Sometimes the words seem to dance around the page and once when there is a mighty wave that goes 'sploosh', this word actually curves around in the shape of a wave.
Every page is very colourfully illustrated, and although the pirates are particularly scary, most of the other pictures are very funny. All of the children have round faces with big wide eyes and it's a lot of fun to stop and look at what they are all doing. The lovely bright colours do make the book very attractive to look through.
Overall this is a funny quirky story which is likely to appeal to many small children. However, if your child is easily scared they might find the idea of the pirates a bit too much.
A version of this book review has already appeared at www.thebookbag.co.uk under my name.