Why are Jonny Duddle’s pirate books so great?

Because they arrrrrrrr!

Particularly this one. The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle is a funny, uplifting visual treasure of a book, with some sharp observations on neighbourliness thrown in for good measure.

Tilda lives in Dull-on-Sea, a town populated by uptight, nosey and rather dull residents with an average age of 67. She wants nothing more than for a family to move in next door with a child her age. When they do, it’s better than Tilda could ever have imagined – her new neighbour is a boy, a pirate boy. While Tilda is thrilled at the arrival of Jim-Lad and the rest of the Jolly-Rogers, the rest of the town aren’t quite so friendly – in fact, they’re downright rude (it’s enough to shiver your timbers).

Jonny Duddle’s illustrations capture the snooty small town perfectly. He draws in 3d cartoon style, which I thought made the characters like those you would find in a sitcom – exaggerated and ridiculous, but completely recognisable as the types of people you come across every day. You know immediately which characters are nice and which are nasty – the Jolley-Rogers burst out of their ship in a fun-loving, friendly manner, while Tilda’s Mrs Bumble from her first appearance is quite clearly evil on just from the way she holds her tea and raises her eyebrows.

The characters are my favourite thing about this book and Tilda and Jim-Lad’s friendship really warms the heart(ies). There are plenty of funny details in each scene and so you can spend ages just looking at the pages. The message I also found really positive: don’t be unfriendly and unwelcoming to people just because they do things a bit differently from you, fire cannons and have rats in their house.

Overall: MARRRRRvelous – I advise ye read it.

Liz Bankes



The Pirates Next Door is an enchanting read with illustrations to match. The characters are strong, bold and colourful, in more ways than one. My 5 year old and I loved the fact that the neighbours disliked the pirates and didn't want them to move in next door until they moved out and left them treasure.

The pinnacle of the book is the double page spread which includes so much detail, I missed lots of things the first time around. A lovely read with a great message!

Jonny Yewman


Jack 7, Ella 6 and Sophie 21 months
Our family loved this new addition to their reading collection, bed time reading is something we all look forward to, snuggled on the kids’ bed with the lights low. Jack and Ella loved this book, Jack giving it 10 out of 10 and a rating of 'awesome'. They loved the artwork as there was so much to look at whilst I was reading... and also the length of the story as it was slightly longer than many books we have been reading… All in all a great kids book and great for both girls and boys.

Louise Barnes


First I have to say the minute I saw the book I was captivated and that was before I even opened it. The illustrations are amazing! Every single page is chocked full of things to look at. The jacket on the hardback edition doubles as a poster and my boys were in awe of the poster. I have 4 boys and each of them wanted it in their room it was that nice!

Anyway on to the story. The story is told as a rhyme and its about a little neighbourhood near the sea where a pirate family move in to fix their boat. The neighbours aren’t very nice to the pirates but the pirates prove they are not so bad. It’s a lovely lesson to learn, never judge by appearance alone! Tilda the little girl who lives next to the pirates befriends the pirate boy Jim Lad despite what everyone tells her. I had to read it 3 times in a row before my boys would let me stop. They loved the story and the pictures but they really loved the pirates!!

This book is a must buy, it’s well written and the illustration alone makes it worth it!

5/5 stars

Natalie Cleary