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SLOOP JOHN B by Alan Jardine


A Pirate’s Tale

by Alan Jardine & illustrated by Jimmy Pickering

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: May 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-689-03596-9
Publisher: Milk & Cookies Press

There have been a number of quite nifty picture books made of pop or folk songs, but this is not one of them. Founding member of the Beach Boys, and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jardine takes the folk song “Sloop John B,” which the Beach Boys recorded as a glorious exercise in shivery folk harmony, and turns it into a bloodless and sappy children’s tale. The lyrics are cleaned up and toned down, as a boy and his grandfather sale “around Nassau town.” Pirates attack, the boy saves his grandfather from walking the plank, and a constable appears (from where?) and takes the pirates away. The illustrations are cartoon-bright and that peculiar mix of geometric form and chunky texture that reflects his animation background. Figures have button eyes, comma noses and inexpressive mouths. A CD of Jardine singing this version is included, but it’s as boring as the rest of this package. (Picture book. 4-7)