Arr-guably the best pirate fairy tale to sail the seven storytimes.


Who dares board a most worthy sea vessel when its inhabitants are out? Best be looking for the telltale golden hair.

A piratical Mama, Papa, and Baby sail upon their sloop, a villain every one. Tired of hardtack, Mama attempts some good old-fashioned gruel, but she burns it (cooking’s not really her forte, but she wields a mean cutlass). As they row ashore in their dinghy for fresh water and let the gruel cool off, a lonesome girl follows her nose to the cooling breakfast. Instead of just going through the familiar fairy-tale motions, Goldenlocks fixes up, improves, and generally makes everything better onboard. And when she’s discovered, do the pirates offer her the plank? Nay, she’s given a job as the newest recruit instead! Salerno fills the illustrations chock-full of delightful details, the wind-tousled figures, all evidently white, rendered in jewel tones. The pirates prove a comical foil to the ever savvy Goldenlocks. In upsetting the clumsy-housebreaker trope, the titular heroine is something of a jack-of-all-trades, making her a perfect complement to other STEM-girl heroines. Somewhat less forward-thinking is that it’s Mama pirate who is the cook in the family while peg-legged Papa watches; some stereotypes don’t die.

Arr-guably the best pirate fairy tale to sail the seven storytimes. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30074-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...


A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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