The Fierce Little Woman and the Wicked Pirate
Cowley, J. (2003). The Fierce Little Woman and the Wicked Pirate (S. Davis, Illus.). Wellington, New Zealand: Gecko Press.
[Genre: Picture Storybook]
The Fierce Little Woman and the Wicked Pirate tells the story of a fierce little woman who lives alone in a house at the end of a jetty, until a wicked pirate knocks on her door and interrupts her life.
The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand (2011, p.23) states that picture storybooks are ‘generally written for the 4-9 year age group;’ this would certainly be an appropriate age for Cowley’s book. Its use of a slightly more complex vocabulary and well-developed pictures means detail that will engage older children, such as the pirate’s cheeky parrot in the background, would likely go over the head of those at the younger end of the 0-6 range. The story also plays into what Sutherland (1997) believes are the needs young children seek to attain through books, specifically to love and to be loved, for security and to belong. In the beginning of the story the fierce woman is lonely living by herself and the wicked pirate is afraid of the dark. However, by starting their own family unit the two characters find love, belonging and security in each other and their children.
Overall, The Fierce Little Woman and the Wicked Pirate is a true gem of the picture storybook genre. It hinges on timeless themes that are relevant to the developmental and emotional needs of the age it is aimed at, while maintaining a witty and whimsical feeling that moves seamlessly through both text and image.
- Sutherland, Z (Ed.). (1997). Children and books today. In Children and books (pp.4-23). New York: Addison Wesley Longman.
- The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. (2011). Module 1: Children and young people - developmental stages, literacy and literature. In 72276: Literature and Information Resources for Children and Young People. Lower Hutt, New Zealand: Author.