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Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen by Chris Riddell is a short story about Goth Girl, which is set just after Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death finishes. It prepares the ground for the new (Yay!) Goth Girl book, Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright, which is due to be published in the autumn of 2015.

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Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen is available as a stand alone publication and was part of the 2015 World Book Day Celebrations in which the special World Book Day stories are £1 each.

In this story, Ada Goth is off to Brighton for a bit of sea air. While she is there she intends to visit the newly erected and as yet unfinished Brighton Pavilion and marvel at the girth and sheer size of the Prince Regent’s trousers.  She also wants to take part in a fashion show which the Prince Regent will attend.  Her father, Lord Goth, has given her twenty guineas to visit some of the most fashionable dress makers of the day while she is in Brighton.

The story, though short, is filled with the usual, irreverent Riddell humour.  The fashion designers that Ada visits are Lady Vivienne Dashwood and Jean-Paul Goatee, whose portraits look remarkably like Ms Westwood and monsieur Gaultier.  I also liked the nod to Jane Austen with the use of the name Dashwood.

I love the way Riddell deflates the pomposity of the rich and famous and their fashionable ways. I also love the way he shows his vast storehouse of knowledge about art, literature, history and in fact just about anything you care to mention, but does it with such a lightness of touch that it never grates on the reader or seems like showing off.

It is also done with such skill that even if you don’t know half of what Riddell is alluding to, and most children who read this won’t, it is still a great, funny read with plenty to entertain and amuse.  Suitable for girls and boys aged 8 and up.

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