Kirkus Reviews: Piratess Tilly Easter Island

An eye-pleasing picture book that offers a winning mix of adventure, science, and poetry, with a strong heroine who invites readers to view the world as a place of natural wonder. --Kirkus Reviews

Wow! The first industry review is in for the upcoming sequel, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly Easter Island (February 2017, White Wave Press). I am incredibly grateful that the reviewer at Kirkus Reviews both recognized and appreciated the story development and the educational additions (glossary and short bios on Tilly's historical heroes). Onward we go!


In this second installment of an ecologically based adventure series for children, a young naturalist and ship’s captain sails to a remote island and discovers a threat to the local wildlife.

Piratess Tilly—the refreshingly bold, smart heroine introduced in Lorayne’s debut picture book (The Adventures of Piratess Tilly, 2016), illustrated by Watson—takes to the sea again on her research ship, the Foster. She’s accompanied by her friend Yuki (a rescued koala bear) and the seven orphan boys who make up her diverse crew. Their destination: Easter Island. Unfolding in graceful haiku, the tale follows passionate naturalist Tilly (“An explorer’s dress / Patch pockets for her notebooks / Trade tools in her bag”) as she studies the mysterious Moai statues and scuba dives to observe marine life native to the area, sketching and cataloging what she sees. The trip takes an unexpected turn when the crew encounters pirates raiding the nests of sooty terns in an egg-smuggling venture, and the group launches a successful rescue effort, led by parasailing Tilly and Yuki. (In the first Tilly adventure, a trip to the Galapagos Islands became a mission to save baby giant tortoises from the clutches of another band of pirates.) Lorayne’s poetic text is fully integrated into Watson’s lovely watercolor images, executed with an eye for captivating detail. The tale delivers enough escapades and suspense to satisfy a young audience, but the author also includes ample learning opportunities to encourage children to seek out the story’s substantial real-life underpinnings. These include examples of sailors’ knots, a glossary of words and terms—endemic, expeditions, trade winds, thermals, etc.—and various fish species skillfully rendered by Watson. In addition, the volume features short biographies of Tilly’s 19th- and 20th-century inspirations, Charles Darwin (“Darwin on her shelves / Evokes her scholarly dreams / Coral reefs and fish”) and anthropologist Katherine Routledge, written by science historian Michael Barton and archaeologist Jo Anne Van Tilburg.

An eye-pleasing picture book that offers a winning mix of adventure, science, and poetry, with a strong heroine who invites readers to view the world as a place of natural wonder.

The Influence of Mother Nature


When was the last time you chose to stand in the rain, allowing it to wash away your burdens? Or when was the last time you let the snow falling mesmerize you, slowing your breathing and taking you inward? Do you remember how it felt to run freely as a child? The complete determination and fullness of heart that you experienced while your legs burned or you were finally out of breath - enjoying your sacred moments in Nature.

Nature is forever constant - always present. It can be felt, seen, heard, tasted, the scents inhaled and instantly grounding. For that is where the Mother aspect of "Mother Nature" exists for me - she roots my Spirit and gently comforts my Heart. In moments of uncertainty, I've felt the gentle pull of Mother Nature, guiding me to focus on her offerings - her touchstones.

Being raised in Seattle, that often meant pausing and listening to the rain, letting its rhythm calm me or cleanse my mind. As a child, I felt instantly empowered and free on my bicycle, pedaling hard, with the wind in my hair and trees surrounding me, their evergreen scents both exhilarating and calming me.

It is in those moments that I feel myself most connected to Mother Nature - to the Universe - and therefore to my Self. It is there that I find inspirations aplenty, beckoning me to express my findings.

As I've gotten older and have learned to silence the outer noise of the world, calling on this inspiration has gotten much easier. It is from this place, this entire experience of Mother Nature in both her physical and spiritual forms, that I felt compelled to write The Adventures of Piratess Tilly.

When Tilly's story presented itself, I immediately felt the need to share her unique character in hopes of empowering the reader. One of my hopes for adults reading the story is that the door is re-opened to the wonderment of both the physical and spiritual aspects of Mother Nature.

Children more often than not innately feel connected to flora, fauna and the unseen guide that is Mother Nature. It is we adults who can lose sight of her beauty and spiritual power, her ability to root and embrace our Spirit. My wish is for us adults to harness our children's ability to roll in the leaves and not care about ruining our clothes, for example! I hope seeing Nature through Piratess Tilly's eyes helps remind you of your positive experiences out of doors as a child - and helps reunite you with Mother Nature. And with that reconnection, I hope we can continue to build a community that raises awareness of Nature's offerings and its needs for respect and protection, as Piratess Tilly has done, with her band of "brothers," hailing from 7 international ports. For it is only when we let go, that we can then embrace each other and Mother Nature.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Lorayne