Molly the Pirate (Lorraine Teece, illus by Paul Seden, Magabala)
Molly the Pirate tells the simple but compelling tale of a girl who imagines herself as a swashbuckling pirate. Author Lorraine Teece follows in the tradition of picture books such as Where the Wild Things Are with her celebration of a child’s unlimited imagination and ‘dress up’ or ‘pretend’ play. Paul Seden’s lively illustrations cleverly combine the pirate ship of Molly’s dreams and the surrounding sea with everyday items in her backyard: a washing basket (ship), a Hills Hoist (mast), a billowing white sheet (flag) and the blue sky (sea). Early childhood readers will enjoy this witty exploration of a child’s resourceful play world and its ability to transform even the most mundane of domestic spaces. The message is one of self-affirmation—a confident, independent girl revelling in what she can dream up and in her physical abilities, which she uses to impress her fellow ‘pirates’ by doing back flips, dances and climbing up the rig. In the end, Molly’s fanciful trip is kept a secret from her mother; the child’s imagined world is invisible to myopic grown-up eyes. This book will bewitch young minds and broaden their scope for imagination.
Jessica Zhan Mei Yu is a former library officer, writer and is currently completing a PhD at the University of Melbourne