Critical Responses

‘From almost our first meeting, Lynette Morrison plucked me right from her professional sphere and brought me into the warm spaces of her personal realm.  Her family and mine have grown, in the years since then, into a mutual enjoyment of one another’s company and a shared love of all the best things in life — including, most of all, a vibrant, healthy friendship.


 The Pittodrie Pirates has exactly this feel about it as well.  The stories draw you right in close, bringing out in you a quick, easy fondness for the five main characters of the tales.  It is easy to laugh with them, and to share their joy in exploring the fantastic world around them.  Their love of good food, good fun, high adventure, wondrous creatures, cool toys, and beautiful landscapes can only be topped by their pure enjoyment of one another.  It’s exactly the sort of life most of us dream of, in some fashion or another.


 But there’s never a need, really, to envy the Pittodrie pirates their adventures on the fabulous ship that takes them everywhere they want to go, and keeps them safe and happy in the process.  It’s not that The Guppy isn’t a ship worthy of our envy.  Quite the contrary.  All the same, there is no need for envy on our part, because it’s easy for us to jump aboard The Guppy and make ourselves right at home in the midst of the pirate family.


 Just as Lyn and her crew have allowed me to do here in their land adventures.’



Shelly Bryant, author of three volumes of poetry, Cyborg ChimeraUnder the Ash, and Voices of the Elders, two travel guides, one to the city of Suzhou entitled Suzhou Basics,and another co-authored with Nick Land and Lily Sun, entitled Open Door Guide to Shanghai, and translator of Sheng Keyi’s novel 《北妹》 (Northern Girls) for Penguin Books



‘I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.’ Jorge Luis Borges


Early behaviors such as “reading” from pictures and “writing” with scribbles are examples of emergent literacy which play an important part of children’s literacy development. With the support of parents, caregivers, early childhood educators, and teachers, as well as exposure to a literacy-rich environment, children can successfully learn to read.   


 Caregivers can start by reading to children. There are many ways of reading to children and these will vary according to the age of the child, situation and the participants. Storytelling at bedtime is a common discourse activity between parents and their children. The manner in which one reads to a child is also dependent on whether the child is hearing the story for the first time and how children contribute to the event.


 Children should be encouraged to co-construct the narrative with the reader. The child learns to take part in a simple conversation which is similar to classroom talk involving asking a question, providing an answer and receiving feedback. This is reflective of spoken interaction pattern. Ask them questions. Encourage them to interrupt you while you are reading. Let them lead you through the reading. These interruptions and conversations indicate that the child is interested in the story. Often they choose to relate the stories and words in the text to their own experience, providing fascinating insight into their lives.


 Lynette Morrison’s Pittodrie Pirates provides adults with ample opportunities to draw young readers into the land of pirates and adventures. Encourage them to talk about Abbie, Lachlan, Kerris, Ruari, and Lilian. What did they do to prepare for each adventure? How does Pittodrie Island look like? What did the map that The Guppy drew look like? There are endless possibilities and questions that can be asked. Both adults and children are bound to be enthralled by the Pittodrie Pirates and Guppy.


 The books also bridge the gap between picture books to text heavy books where there are very few illustrations, if any at all. On the other hand, The Pittodrie Pirates series provides children the familiarity and comfort of full color, beautiful illustrations on every single page as well as an exciting narrative and strong characterization, that will introduce children to the rich potential of the written text.


 She has a way of narrating the tales of the 5 children that is so complete and yet leaves the children wanting to know more about the characters and the stories.


Happy Reading!



Dr. Anitha Devi Pillai,


National Institute of Education

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


Pittodrie Pirates speaks first to all babies, toddlers and children. But the power of this seemingly simple book resonates with the inner child in every adult. Lynette Morrison is a keen observer and recorder of adult memories of happy childhood experiences. Her book may even resonate with adults with unhappy childhood experiences, not least because it presents a possibility of childhood happiness and fantasy that every child is capable of attaining – in our pure, innocent dreams –  and eventually, helping us cope with the reality of our harsh adult experiences. The Pittodrie Pirates is not only for children, but for all of us, who have ever dreamed, and have ever believed the possibility of attaining those dreams.



Dr. Geraldine Song, author of To Thee, Do We Cry, Poor Banished Children, Horizon Books, 2010


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