In Roman’s (Fribbet the Frog and the Tadpoles, 2015, etc.) newest pirate adventure for kids, a new crew member rocks the boat.
It’s business as usual on the Flying Dragon, as Captain No Beard humorously laments that “Being a captain is hard work” while standing on deck and watching his crew do all the work. He’s a pirate with pride, however, and he’s diligently searching for a flag worthy of his beloved ship. He’s distracted from his musings, however, when a commotion breaks out. He soon discovers that Mongo the monkey has been derailed from his lookout duties on the mast by the newest crew member—a diaper-wearing baby named Zachary. He’s big-time trouble, as many toddlers are, and everything he touches seems to get destroyed, much to the crew’s dismay. Their love for him is clear, especially from his big sister, Hallie, but it’s also heartbreaking for them to see their ship and crew falling apart under his assault. The colorful, vibrant illustrations vividly portray the havoc Zachary wreaks upon the Flying Dragon as the crew tries to find him a job to do. No coconut or lion’s paw is safe from the club-wielding baby, but the crew admirably tries to stay positive despite the damage. Roman gently reminds young readers not to call people names, no matter how tough a situation may be, and deftly slides that lesson into the ongoing story. Hallie’s dismay when Zachary finally takes her job is endearing, and readers will feel the other crew members’ emotions as Zachary takes his toll. Captain No Beard’s selfless solution is a touching, beautiful display that shows how self-sacrifice can lead to greater things than one ever imagined; it also provides a gentle hug to older children who may be tormented by their younger siblings. Although Roman manages to blend a lesson or two into her text, this is a story of adventure, angst, loyalty, and creativity that will rivet young readers. It also has enough humor and depth to appeal to adults.
Another trunk full of golden pirate treasure from Roman.