Pirates Don’t Drive Diggers by Alex English & Duncan Beedie

Pirates Don’t Drive Diggers is the amusing, rhyming tale of a young pirate who is obsessed with diggers!

The Story: Young pirate Brad dreams of working on a building site but Dad says he must join a pirate crew. Nervous Brad boards The Salty Dog where he is put through a series of tests, all of which he fails. He begs for a last chance and Captain Blood sends him off to find treasure. Brad’s spade breaks while he is digging and it seems that he will have to walk the plank but then he spies a building site and asks if he can borrow a digger…

Pirates Don't Drive Diggers Story Snug

Pirates Don’t Drive Diggers is a really fun, easy to read rhyming story with a wonderful repetitive refrain ‘Pirates don’t drive diggers, Lad!’. Brad really struggles with the skills that pirates need, he doesn’t read the compass correctly and he hides when fighting starts. Captain Blood has lost his patience with Brad by the time he sends him into shark infested waters to recover the treasure but it is at Brad’s lowest moment that his digger obsession saves him. Even the builders on the construction site don’t believe that Brad can drive a digger until he impresses them with his knowledge and when Brad returns with the treasure Captain Blood admits that he was wrong, pirates do drive diggers!

Duncan Beedie’s illustrations are brilliant! They’re bold, colourful and very distinctive, we found it difficult to choose favourites. They’re full of humorous action and we love the inclusion of the female pirate who isn’t afraid to fight a huge octopus with her fishing net! My daughter and I both like the picture of Brad falling into Captain Blood’s bunk, the pattern on the captain’s shower curtain is fabulous and we’ve never seen a pirate doing the vacuuming before! The deep turquoise coloured end papers include small pirate and construction vehicle related pictures and we think that the customised rowing boat at the back of the book is great.

Pirates Don’t Drive Diggers would be a fun picture book to include in an Early Years classroom topic on transport and vehicles. It’s also a great story to stimulate discussion about self belief (throughout the book Brad is emphatic about his ability to drive a digger), admitting when you are wrong (as Captain Blood does) and also to talk about stereotyping – because some pirates do drive diggers!

A fantastic, read aloud story with great scope for practising pirate voices!

Age Range: 2 +

Author: Alex English / Illustrator: Duncan Beedie

Thank you to Maverick for sending us a review copy of Pirates Don’t Drive Diggers. We love it and are sure that it will appeal to all little people who are obsessed with diggers!


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18 responses to “Pirates Don’t Drive Diggers by Alex English & Duncan Beedie”


  1. Stacey Guilliatt avatar

    Oh my eldest would absolutely love this, will have to keep an eye out for it 🙂 #readwithme


    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s a really fun story 🙂


  2. PragmaticMom avatar

    Pirates and diggers are such an unusual but fun combination for boys! Thanks for sharing at the Kid Lit Blog Hop Catherine!!


    1. Catherine avatar

      Girls too! My daughter was fascinated by tractors and diggers when she was a toddler 🙂


  3. Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews avatar

    I’ve flipped through these in the bookstore – they are totally adorable. Thanks for sharing in the Kid Lit Blog Hop!


    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s a great book with great characters 🙂


  4. C.L. Murphy avatar

    How fun! This does sound like a winning combo. Stopping by from the Kid Lit Blog Hop.


    1. Catherine avatar

      I think this is a great combination with a very catchy, easy to read rhyme 🙂


  5. chantelle hazelden avatar

    Love the sound of this, also shows that you don’t have to follow others dreams for you!! thanks for sharing with #readwithme x


    1. Catherine avatar

      That’s true, it’s tough for children whose parents want them to follow in their footsteps. Brad’s determination and obsession proves that he doesn’t have to be like his dad.


  6. Iona@redpeffer avatar

    Pirates and diggers-my son would absolutely love this. It is indeed a winning combination 🙂


    1. Catherine avatar

      My daughter loved diggers too as a toddler, I think pairing pirates and diggers is a great combination for pre-schoolers 🙂


  7. Single Mother Ahoy avatar

    Wow, this looks like something my S would love – pirates and diggers, a winning combo! #readwithme


    1. Catherine avatar

      It’s a great combination isn’t it and the illustrations are awesome 🙂


  8. Sharon powell avatar

    This looks like a great read and something I know my toddler would love! Great review x


    1. Catherine avatar

      Diggers and pirates are such an irresistible combination for small people and the rhyme is just great 🙂


  9. Sarah Doyle - let them be small avatar

    I saw this book come up on my twitter feed recently and it looks fab – just the sort of book my little one would love. I must look out for it.
    #readwithme


    1. Catherine avatar

      It is a really fun story and the refrain just stays with you!

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