The Pirate Ship is an exciting fantasy adventure story for young readers, inspired by the pirate ship in the Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground in Kensington.
Corin and Carly play on their favourite pirate ship, then Corin climbs up one of the stilt houses and later escapes into the park outside. Whilst visiting his favourite enormous statues in the park, he meets two golden retrievers who live in the park permanently. Later Corin meets some pandas talking to his school friends, Ella, Lars and Himali. The animals tell the gang to go to the Round Pond, where they will be able to sail the real pirate ship that is moored there. After a terrifying encounter with a mastiff, the friends’ trust in the animals’ advice is rewarded when they find the pirate ship. While sailing, they come face-to-face with fierce pirates who try to kidnap them. Disaster seems imminent until the resourceful retrievers and pandas come to the rescue...
Reminiscent of the works of Lewis Carroll, Charles Kingsley and Enid Blyton, The Pirate Ship will appeal to children aged 5-7 years. The Princess of Wales memorial playground and the Kensington gardens, although not actually named, will be recognised by children who love them through connection with the named nearby ‘Round Pond’. They might also recognise the equestrian statue and the striking golden Prince Albert Memorial statue in the story. The tale also contains various animals and fantasy elements and as such will appeal to a broad range of young readers. It has been inspired by E. M. Forster’s ‘The Celestial Omnibus’ and real-life events – Gillian takes her grandchildren into the children’s playground in Kensington Gardens, and has fond memories of her twin sister’s golden retrievers.