#927 – Ned the Knitting Pirate by Diana Murray and Leslie Lammle

nedtheknittingpiratecover Ned the Knitting Pirate
Written by Diana Murray
Illustrated by Leslie Lammle
Roaring Brook Press  8/23/2016
40 pages    Ages 6—9

“The crew of the pirate ship the Rusty Heap are a fearsome bunch! They’re tougher than gristle and barnacle grit. They heave and they ho and they swab and the . . . knit?

“Well, one of them does, at least. Unfortunately for Ned, his knitting doesn’t go over well with the captain and crew. They urge him to hide his hobby and strive to be saltier, like pirates should be., But when the briny ocean beast shows up to feast on the Rusty Heap and its crew, maybe Ned’s knitting is just the ticket to save the day!” [inside jacket]

Ned is a pirate on the “Rusty Heap.” He is a different sort of pirate, with a different sort of hobby. A hobby the captain is not fond of Ned pursuing. I had no idea pirates had hobbies, but it makes sense given how long they are out to sea. But knitting? Yep, that’s right. Ned likes, no he loves to knit. He seems to knit nonstop, and the captain is not pleased. The pirates dig up a treasure chest while Ned sits off to the side, happily knitting.

3The captain stomps his wooden leg, shakes his hooked hand, and threatens Ned with walking the plank. Ned crates up his yarn and needles and neatly adds all he has knitted, and then closes the crate. Done knitting, Ned needs a new hobby. Then, in the middle of the night—it always happens in the middle of the night—Ned “heard a mighty SPLASH!”

Did someone walk the plank? Nope. Has the captain gone for an unscheduled swim? With one good hand? Heavens no. Oh, right, pirates come to pillage the ship, searching for their treasure chest. Nah. It’s the mightily feared and fretted ocean beast. It’s coming for dinner. The creature is an uninvited guest and it’s hungry for crunchy ship chips and sloppy crew stew.


Ned the Knitting Pirate plunders pirate lore. It buries Blackbird’s legend. It crushes Captain Jack Sparrow. It pounds pirate parakeet wings to dust. Despite that show of strength, Ned the Knitting Pirate gives pirates a softer image. Kids will love Ned and the rest of the Rusty Heap crew. They might even like the mightily feared and fretted ocean beast. I do.

author site 1Ned is not your typical pirate. He is petite. He might even be a kid pirate in training. He could be the young boy listening to the story. And, Ned has a trusty mate: his monkey. The rest of the crew and the captain look the part. The illustrations have the pirate look. Captain Jack Sparrow would be jealous.

One of the best spreads is the one were the Rusty Heap nearly flips bow over stern into the huge waves courtesy of the mightily feared and fretted ocean beast. You can feel the sea cresting this way and that. The movement is palatable. The color blue overtakes the scene, giving it a dark menacing feel—in a fun way. The moon worries and the beast smiles. This scene, and all the others, is terrific. The color saturation makes the images perfect. But enough about the luscious illustrations.

nedspread3The story is a hoot! Hooked from the first sentence, which immediately brought the tune of Gilligan’s Island to mind.

“Listen to the legend of the crew that sailed the deep
aboard a tattered pirate ship they called the Rusty Heap.
The pirates were a rugged lot—as fierce as they were strong.
And as they swabbed the deck one day, they sang this pirate song:”

Did you sing along? The rhymes and the rhythm are spot on. The story is a fun read along with three verses of the pirate song. Kids will sing right along with the crew—as should the parent reader. Ned the Knitting Pirate is one of the few picture books that get everything correct. Young children will request Ned the Knitting Pirate at home and at library story hours.

Ned the Knitting Pirate is the third picture book from Diana Murray and the third picture book that will help make her a beloved author. They—whoever “they” are—say, “Threes a charm” and they are right. Ned the Knitting Pirate is charming. Even though Ned knits, boys with love the story as much as girls will love it. I gush because I love Ned the Knitting Pirate.

The spreads are frame-worthy. The text has the singsong quality, seamless rhyming and rhythm, and picture-perfect pacing. I know writing a picture book is difficult, but Murray makes it look easy. Her humor and heart fill her stories. Diana Murray is definitely an author to watch.

1Ned the Kitting Pirate hits a homerun, no, wait . . . Ned the Knitting Pirate fires its cannon, scuttling a rouge ship. What you won’t see is Murray or Lammle walking the plank because of Ned the Knitting Pirate. Hopefully they find a treasure chest filled with lovely commissions.

Everyone ready? The opening on three. One, two, three. ¶ “Listen to the legend . . .” ¶ʆ

NED THE KNITTING PIRATE. Text copyright © 2016 by Diana Murray. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Leslie Lammle. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Roaring Brook Press, New York, NY.

Pre-Order Now! AmazonIndie BooksApple BooksRoaring Brook Press

Find Ned the Knitting Pirate on Goodreads HERE.

Diana Murray:  http://www.dianamurray.com/
Follow on Twitter          @DianaMWrites

Leslie Lammle:  http://www.leslielammle.com/
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Roaring Brook Press:    http://us.macmillan.com/mackids/
Follow on Twitter          @MacKidsBooks

Roaring Brook Press is an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

Reprinted with permission from NED THE KNITTING PIRATE © 2016 by Diana Murray, Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Illustrations © 2016 by Leslie Lammle.




Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Ned the Knitting Pirate
Written by Diana Murray
Illustrated by Leslie Lammle
Roaring Brook Press 8/23/2016



17 thoughts on “#927 – Ned the Knitting Pirate by Diana Murray and Leslie Lammle

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  3. What an adorable story! Nice, Diana and Leslie! 😀 This reminds me of a time, a zillion years ago when I was a cocktail waitress and before the “rush” hour, a couple of bikers came in. They were the only ones there, waiting for their food, and I was knitting something at the time so had it with me during breaks. One of them was very big and burly, wearing the typical black leather and grommets. He asked me to teach him 🙂


  4. Hey, thanks for stopping by, Robin! Yes, one of my close friends is a male knitter, too. Looking forward to our upcoming witchy events, btw! And major thanks to Sue for this lovely review! This makes my day! 🙂


  5. Love this review, Sue! Congrats, Diana! Ned the Knitting Pirate is on my to-read list. And I’m so glad Diana had a boy pirate knitting. Male knitters do exist. When I was in college my first year, I was in the knitting dorm and the knitters would get together once in a while and chat while knitting. We had many men in our group.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Robin. The review can only be as good as the book. Great book = great review (sometimes). There was a knitting dorm? What college did you attend? It’s cool so many men were in your group. Good old pirate Ned seems to have started something that lasted through the centuries. Go Ned! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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