Roman’s (Pepper Parrot’s Problem with Patience: A Captain No Beard Story, 2013) latest adventure about Captain No Beard and his band of plucky pirates tackles the issue of stranger danger.
Captain No Beard is good-naturedly cranky about the fact that he’s babysitting his new cabin girl, Cayla, while trying to enjoy a day on the high seas. Roman’s color illustrations are hilarious and animated, showcasing the great horror of the crew when Cayla almost tips over the edge of the boat before Captain No Beard rescues her by grabbing her diaper. First mate Hallie cheerfully stands up to Captain No Beard’s complaints about Cayla, seeing only great fun in having a baby on board. Her defense of Cayla is a good reminder to kids that it’s OK to stand up for what’s right, including defending those who are being picked on, even when dealing with people in positions of power. The debate over Cayla is forgotten when Captain No Beard and the others notice a dark, scary ship approaching at high speed. The crew of the incoming ship shouts over the wind, innocently claiming to be lost and in need of directions. Captain No Beard’s crew quickly goes into a huddle, some of them having heard rumors about the approaching ship, with its troublemaking first mate, Crab Cakes, and the mean captain, Shark Bait. Clever humor abounds, such as when Fribbet the Frog declares that he does not like crab cakes because “they are very messy,” not realizing that the Crab Cakes in question is actually the first mate. The crew agrees that although they have heard of the approaching crew, they do not truly know them. First mate Hallie announces, “We certainly don’t speak to people we don’t know. And we never approach animals without permission.” Hearty agreement reverberates, and Captain No Beard steers his vessel away from the approaching ship…but they cannot escape! At least not until a great odor wafting from Cayla’s diaper sends the enemy scurrying for cover in an unexpected but hilarious conclusion to the story. The delivery of the message and the content is first-rate, and the twist at the end will leave readers laughing out loud and ready for the next book in the series.
Another victory on the high seas for Roman.