Roman’s (The Treasure of Snake Island, 2014, etc.) latest installment in her rollicking pirate picture-book series.

The author opens her story with a vivid rendition of a parched pirate crew that’s stranded near an island without any juice boxes, rivers or ponds to drink from. Crankiness and blaming commence, with Mongo the monkey blaming Hallie, the first mate, for their plight, as she brought a thirsty goat on board who drank more than her share. Mongo and some of the others begin to ridicule the goat, making fun of her name and her unusual odor. Hallie and baby Cayla tell the goat that she’s beautiful, but this doesn’t shield the goat from hurt feelings, and a tear rolls down her furry cheek. Captain No Beard arrives and impartially asks for both sides of the story. (Poor Fribbet the frog is very upset because he doesn’t want to have to choose sides.) Captain No Beard, after offering his signature lament, that “[b]eing a captain is hard work,” climbs down the mast and instructs all of them to say one nice thing about themselves, as well as one thing they don’t like. As the crew members take turns, they begin to understand no one is perfect but that doesn’t detract from how amazing each one is. They also realize that just because someone is different it doesn’t make that individual any less special. Apologies, handshakes, paw-shakes and hoof-shakes ensue, and Roman drives home the lesson when the goat figures out a coconut-y solution to their thirst. The author doesn’t disappoint in her latest pirate tale, once again seamlessly weaving wonderful life lessons for children into a fun adventure story among friends. The illustrations are dynamic and full of emotion, leaping off the pages with their charm, humor and energy. The affection among the crew is evident, even when things get a little heated. Here, Roman’s talent shines, as she shows that friendship is an evolving relationship that ebbs and flows—and flourishes with a little bit of understanding.

Another heartwarming pirate story from Roman.

Pub Date: May 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1492162698

Page Count: 48

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Dizzyingly silly.


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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