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Thar She Blows


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Childhood imaginations run wild in this fun picture book of bath time pirates

Thar She Blows! by Klam Burley (illustrated by Francesca Da Sacco) is a children's picture book which tells the story of Bobby, a young pirate with a rascally parrot companion and a fearsome sea monster to battle. But is Bobby's dangerous encounter all as it seems?

There is much to commend this book, including the humorous plot twist halfway through which changed the story's direction to draw children back to a relatable environment. Children are well-known for having broad, colourful imaginations, although I would probably not have been as understanding as Bobby's mother if I walked into a flooded bathroom!

The illustrations are nicely done, the bird's eye perspective of the mythical sea monster flavours on the mildly surreal (think Studio Ghibli) and the slightly cartoonish depiction of Bobby maintains a sweet sense of innocence. The two forms balance each other well. The addition of hidden rubber ducks on each page adds an additional layer of engagement for parents and children; having these peppered throughout hints toward the plot twist to come.

The copy in this book could, however, be tightened. I know a good deal of adults who do not know what a semicolon is, let alone small children. In my opinion the use of this punctuation mark should not exist in a book aimed at this age demographic. The sentences are also long and clunky in places, for me the poetry did not flow naturally and I ended up having to reread pages to marry-up what sometimes could be better described as half-rhymes. Personally I think the writing would have been better as prose.

Thar She Blows! comes from a solid place. It is well illustrated and is full of the heart and charm needed for a picture book of its type. If elements of the copy were addressed Burley could find herself onto a real winner.

AEB Reviews

Reviewed by

I've been blogging since 2014, showcasing the best hidden gems in publishing on my website. With me, it’s not a proper cup of coffee without a book and not a proper book unless I've (somehow) spilt coffee all over it.


A rascally pirate and his parrot sail through rough seas together when they suddenly encounter an unusual whale with a VERY bad temper! Things seem to be turning out quite badly for the pair when something completely unexpected happens...

"Thar She Blows!" is a humorous and adorable rhyming tale. Its young readers are challenged to find hidden figures throughout its beautifully illustrated pages, and it will capture the imagination of youngsters everywhere!

If your child loves action and adventure, this little story will become a well-worn favorite that will be read again and again.

About the author

Klam Burley spent almost two decades as a wedding and portrait photographer before becoming an author. She is constantly thinking in rhymes (a blessing and a curse) and loves to write silly, nonsensical poetry that makes people laugh. Klam resides in Virginia USA with her husband of 35 years. view profile

Published on July 11, 2022

0-1000 words

Genre: Action & Adventure

Reviewed by