A librarian endows a treasure-hunting pirate with reading skills as well as training him to hush up in this bland valentine to literacy.
Sending other users fleeing from their computer screens and cozy reading nooks to cower in the stacks, Big Pirate Pete bursts into the Seabreezy Library bellowing demands for treasure. Flashing the fierce, quelling glare that good public and school librarians everywhere wield, diminutive Library Lou shuts him up and sends him away with a promise to help after he bathes and changes his undershorts. When he meekly returns, she shows him that there’s more to the alphabet than “X marks the spot,” and in time, he becomes an avid reader—as Greene puts it in a typically lumbering couplet: “Those factual books, Big Pete came to love. / He read about things that he’d never heard of….” Ajhar tracks the development of this Common Core–friendly reading preference in comical scenes in which schoolmarmish Lou dances balletically among piles of books as the exaggeratedly humongous pirate grows more and more absorbed in his reading. At last he figures out that reading is fun and tenders his thanks: “ ‘ ’Cause of ye, now we know—books be the treasure!’ / ‘Shucks,’ whispered Lou. ‘It’s been my pleasure.’ ”
Worthy, even trendy, but unlikely to make nonreaders (of any age) follow the animals in Judy Sierra and Marc Brown’s classic to become Wild About Books (2004). (Picture book. 6-8)