The Adventures of Piratess Tilly: Easter Island (White Wave Press, 2017)
March/April 2017: The Adventures of Piratess Tilly: Easter Island was selected for an editorial review for the Children's Picture Book featured section in the March/April issue of Foreword Reviews magazine!
December 2, 2017: The Adventures of Piratess Tilly: Easter Island received an outstanding review by Kirkus Reviews:
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 Galápagos 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.
See it here!
The Adventures of Piratess Tilly (White Wave Press, 2015)
January 11, 2016: 5 STAR review of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly by Clarion Reviews:
Read the full review here!
August 10, 2015: The Adventures of Piratess Tilly received a great review from Publishers Weekly:
Lorayne crafts an environmentally focused adventure told through haikus and punctuated by moments of excitement. Piratess Tilly, a brunette girl in patchwork jeans, travels on the research vessel Foster with a crew of young sailors from around the globe and her fedora-wearing koala, Yuki. Watson depicts Tilly and Yuki’s time aboard the ship in gentle watercolors with light fantasy elements. Tilly and Yuki read Charles Darwin and Beatrix Potter in their cozy cabin, a smiling crescent moon shining through the window, and collect nature specimens to study and sketch: “Many days passing/ Best used for examining/ What would Darwin think?”
The plot turns from wildlife examination to conservation when Tilly and the crew discover that nefarious pirates are smuggling baby giant tortoises from the Galápagos Islands. In a perilous—albeit brief—mission, Tilly and her crewmates rescue the tortoises and release them into the sea. While the sequence of haikus can make for a slightly herky-jerky narrative, Tilly—tough, daring, and scientifically minded—is a capable heroine with an enviable life at sea. Ages 4–8. (BookLife) See it here!
The Dispersal of Darwin
July 15, 2015: Michael D. Barton of The Dispersal of Darwin wrote a lovely book review of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly.
Read the full review here!
June 3, 2015: The Adventures of Piratess Tilly received a glowing review from Kirkus Reviews:
In this picture book, an adventurous girl and her crew of orphaned boys sail the high seas and intercept a band of pirates kidnapping tortoises.
Told in haiku, Lorayne’s debut picture book, with illustrations by Watson, introduces readers to Tilly, a girl with a courageous spirit and patched jeans who sails around the world on the Foster with her crew of orphaned boys. Together with Yuki, a koala Tilly rescued from Australia, they use a compass and star chart to explore the ocean, all while cataloging, sketching, and studying what they find, including whales, birds, and other sea life. All is calm until they head to the Galapagos Islands and spy pirates kidnapping baby giant tortoises. The crew of the Foster doesn’t hesitate to act and steal onto the pirates’ ship to right the wrong. Lorayne has written a thoughtful take on the pirate genre, with a female-led crew focused on science and discovery. There’s a strong awareness of ecology, though the text also still works as an adventure. The seamlessly incorporated haiku also work well, serving as an appreciable introduction to the poetic form for young readers. In addition to being lovely poems, the haiku clearly explain the moment. For instance, “Just off the port side / Magnificence of the sea / Humpback whales surface.” With such little text, Watson’s artwork has ample space on the page to help illustrate what’s happening. The beautiful watercolors feature rich colors and intricate details. Some of the vocabulary and references, such as one to Darwin, could be challenging for young readers, so the story offers plenty of opportunities for further investigation in the classroom or at home.
Tells a thoughtful, eco-conscious story with a strong female lead, ideal for kids interested in poetry and adventure.
See it here!