Pirates on the Farm
By Denette Fretz
Illustrated by Gene Barretta
 Pages HB Picture Book
ABOUT AUTHOR: ABOUT AUTHOR: Denette Fretz is a first grade teacher whose passion is crafting inventive, engaging stories that encourage life-application of biblical principles. Fretz resides in Oregon with her husband, two teenage children, a sassy cat, and a spastic Jack-A-Bee.
Gene Barretta Illustrator

ABOUT ILLUSTRATOR: “What are they doing now?”

That was the popular question around my house and neighborhood.
It was not unusual to see my brother Billy and me dressed up in homemade
costumes – filming Super 8mm dramas – attempting risky stunts in the ravine -
animating GI Joes and weird-looking clay figures – building and performing clunky
puppets – drawing offbeat comics and imitating The Beatles.

Today, life isn’t very different.
Billy is a writer, director, producer and puppeteer for The Muppets.
I’m an author and illustrator of children’s books. My illustration and animation
work also appears on Sesame Street and Between the Lions. In addition, I have
designed characters for The Jim Henson Company.

The best part of our careers is that occasionally we get to work together!
Unfortunately, no one will pay us to imitate The Beatles.

I live outside of Philadelphia, PA with my wife, Leslie and son, Benjamin.
Page from book Illustrated by Gene Barretta

Back Cover: 'No one ever imagined that five swashbuckling pirates would settle in our proper little southern community. But they did.' When pirates move in next door, life on the farm is bound to get interesting. But will the unadventurous Sanders family be able to handle the pirates' bad manners, ghastly grub, and outrageous antics? Or will they learn the importance of loving one's neighbor and help the graceless pirates find their 'land legs'?

Review: I loved the illustrations and the message of this book. I’m thankful for the review copy of such a precious and fun story.

What does it mean when the bible says to love your neighbor as yourself? This author sets up a scenario everyone young and old can relate to. The story takes place in a small town where everyone knows your name, your business and how things are supposed to go. It shows how town’s people react to Pirates moving to their town with a strange way of talking, dressing and doing life. They couldn’t believe they were now their neighbors! This story will have children discover this scripture reference for the first time and parents will look at it in a new light.

The Book Blurb says, “Will they learn the importance of loving one’s neighbor and help the graceless pirates find their “land legs?”

This is an amusing and delightful picture book that will have children laugh as the towns people try to figure out these pirates and at how the Pirates try to fit in. I loved how this author and illustrator show how one family dared to love neighbors even though they were very different than themselves.

Five Pirates traded doubloons for dirt and bought a farm. They were inexperienced on how to work a farm. The Pirates watched others to get an idea on how things should go. But they were still clueless. The daughter tells of her families experience with these Pirates. I liked that. The child saw how their father was willing to lend a hand in showing these Pirates how things were done. The mother wanted nothing to do with the lot of them at first but she watch how her husband went out of his way to make them feel welcome. He didn’t judge them but loved them. Just because the Pirates were different it didn’t make them bad.

The pirates accepted the help and were very grateful for the help. So the Pirates invited the family to dinner. The family noticed they ate different things – but they had fun anyway. The child’s family invites the Pirates to a community event. They were just being themselves at this event. They didn’t know the rules of the community and they broke a few laws and were charged a fine they couldn’t pay.

The father searches his heart on what he should do to help and/or wonders if he should do anything at all about the situation. How would God have the farmer help? He wondered. Would the Pirates have to leave the village? WWJD?

The illustrations in the book help get the message across to young readers. There is so much to look at that will make them giggle and the parents grin.

So, if your child and/or grand child are fascinated with Jake the pirate cartoon on T.V. They will love this book. There are notes at the end for parents on how they can talk about what they just read with their kids. It’s a story recommended for ages 4-7. This is the first book in the Next Door Series; I can’t wait to read the rest. It has a great message we all could learn inside these colorful pages. It will also plant seeds of faith in the young and put a big smile on your face. It will soon become a family favorite. I highly recommend this humorous and heartwarming tale to kids and the young at heart.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins


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