Jess’s father is lost somewhere out at sea. She can bear the waiting no longer and so sets out to find him. After a terrible night and day tossed by a storm, Jess finds herself in a graveyard of ships – all wrecked by the giant Pigtails the Pirate. She also finds her father, locked in a cage where he is forced to play music for the pirate.
Using her sharp thinking, Jess frees her father and they almost escape. When Pigtails sees them however, he flies into a rage and seizes Jess’s father. Jess must think fast if she is going to rescue her father and get them both home safely.
There is a retrospective feel to the story and the illustrations of this picture book: it has a feel of a classic fairy tale, with the giant pirate a blundering bully, and the scenes of the tiny Jess and her father trying to escape the eerie shipyard.
Pigtails the Pirate is likely to appeal to a slightly older picture book audience, owing to the length of its text.
Pigtails the Pirate, by David Elliot
Red Fox, 2003