PIRATES by C. Drew Lamm


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 9
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An older sister’s literary torment of her brother backfires in this spooky tale of pirates. Ellery has chosen a library book that she’s sure will frighten young Max, who would rather read about cats than pirates. She maximizes the scare factor by waiting until dark to begin reading aloud with a flashlight. The text alternates between the italicized words of the library book and the action in the den, where the siblings are curled up in their sleeping bags. While Max tries to downplay each thing in the book, Ellery’s interpretations are downright evil. Where Max sees the Spanish moss hanging from the trees as green tinsel, Ellery tells him that it’s pirate’s hair. The pelicans aren’t stretching to catch raindrops in their bills—“They scream silent screams of pirate victims.” But gradually Ellery’s stories catch up with her. Will Max rescue her when the pirates step out of the book with their eye patches and hooks? Heh, heh, heh. Then she can go to the library and get that book about cats. Lamm (Prog Frince: A Mixed-Up Tale, 1999, etc.) has created two very creative children with wonderful imaginations. Schuett’s (Fat Chance Thanksgiving, p. 1215, etc.) oil paintings masterfully show the two children (and their black cat) growing more and more frightened. These are interspersed with pirate scenes that, although spooky, also show a kind of dark humor. In a beach scene, crabs watch the pirate ship with eyes that poke out of the sand on stalks, and on the pirates’ island, a skeleton keeps watch over the X that marks the spot. This is a tale best told at Halloween, but right any time a good scare is in order. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7868-0392-4
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2001


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