Pirates Drive Buses, by Christopher Morgan

Billy and Heidi were walking to school. They were in the middle of the World Champion Pine-cone Kicking Contest when they heard the strangest sound.
A great yellow bus screeched to a halt beside them.
‘Oh no,’ said Heidi. ‘It’s that pirate again.’
And she was right.

The pirate is back, and this time he isn’t much bothered about eating porridge – instead he’s driving a yellow bus full of sea creatures, and searching for his ship which has been stolen. Heidi isn’t too keen on going on an adventure with the Pirate, but Billy is more keen – it’s got to be better than going to school, hasn’t it?

Soon the children, the Pirate and his pet pig (who thinks she’s a parrot) are setting sail in search of the SS You Beauty. Along the way they come across hundreds of monkey crabs, a blue speckled mudskipper that wants to drive the bus and a host of other sea creatures.

This funny offering is the sequel to the popular Pirates Eat Porridge, and, like the first book, is brought to life by the gorgeous black and white illustrations by Neil Curtis (of Cat and Fish fame) who, sadly, passed away soon after completing this book.

This is a gorgeous book full of fun and silliness.

Pirates Drive Buses

Pirates Drive Buses, by Christopher Morgan, illustrated by Neil Curtis
Allen & Unwin, 2007

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Pirates Eat Porridge, by Christopher Morgan & Neil Curtis

He was just wondering whether jellyfish might taste like jelly when a large sheet of paper blew in through the window and rolled itself up like a scroll at his feet.
It had TREASURE MAP written on it in big, bold letters.
Suddenly Billy’s sister, Heidi, jumped over the top of the ladder and tumbled into the tree house.
‘There’s a pirate at our door!’
‘A pirate?’
‘A pirate. And a pig.’
‘I’d better go and see what they want.’

When a Pirate turns up on Billy’s doorstop while his parents are at the grocery store, Billy doesn’t know what to do. But the Pirate quickly takes control and Billy and his sister Heidi find themselves setting sail in their house, which has miraculously become a pirate ship. They help the pirate and his pig – who believes he is a parrot – to find buried treasure on Itchy Ear Island, before heading for home.

Pirates Eat Porridge is a rollicking, humorous adventure for readers aged 5 to 9. Youngsters will laugh at the silliness of it all, and adults will enjoy reading aloud to pre-readers. The illustrations, by award-winning illustrator, Neil Curtis, provide plenty of extra humour, with hidden details and Curtis’ trademark quirkiness.

Loads of fun.

Pirates Eat Porridge, by Christopher Morgan, illustrated by Neil Curtis
Allen & Unwin, 2006

The Memory Book, by Neil Curtis

Trying to classify this book is a real challenge – its is partly non-fiction, partly cartoon, partly inpsirational. But perhaps it is not meant to be classified, being, as it is, so different from any other book.

In The Memory Book author/illustrator Neil Curtis chronicles his memories of childhood, from birth till the age of seven. Curtis was born in England not long after the finish of the Second World War, and he and his family emigrated to Australia when he was seven, so these memories are of his childhood in England.

Some of Curtis’ memories are happy – like his recollections of the shop windows glowing like gold in the winter – while others, such as the images of his parents fighting, are sad. Whilst often intensely personal, there are also many memories that others will relate to their own childhoods.

Neil Curtis is an award winning illustrator, his most recent effort, the children’s picture book Cat and Fish, winning Picture Book of the Year 2004 in the Children’s Book Council of Australia awards.

The Memory Book is intriguing.

The Memory Book, by Neil Curtis
Allen & Unwin, 2005

Cat and Fish, by Neil Curtis & Joan Grant

Cat and Fish come from different worlds – he from the land, she from the sea. But when they meet in the park one night they like each other’s looks.

Cat shows Fish his world and teaches her how to climb, how to shelter from rain, and how to keep warm. But Fish misses the sea, so Cat takes her back and meets her friends. Eventually, they reach a decision. They will live where the land meets the sea – at least until their next adventure.

The story of Cat and Fish is whimsical and charming, but the true delight in this book is the stunning illustrations of Neil Curtis. Using pen and ink, Curtis creates engraving style pictures in stunning black and white.Parents and children alike will love the uniqueness of Curtis’s style.


Cat and Fish, by Neil Curtis & Joan Grant
Lothian, 2003