Aye mateys, heave-ho with this bounty of pirate silliness.


Yo ho ho, it’s an alphabetical parade of pirates—by name!

These 26 cleverly illustrated and unexpected rhyming name choices are bound to tickle readers’ timbers. “Pirate ARTY. First to the party. // Pirate BRAD. Born to be bad.” Each pirate receives a full-page portrait that depicts him (they are all boys) engaged in the behavior described. Pirate Lee, who needs to pee, quivers outside the head, hands over his crotch. Pirate Quaid, who is not afraid, nevertheless looks a little dubious as giant octopus tentacles loom. Pirate Tony, who is fall of baloney, happily munches a sandwich. And so on. The illustrations of construction paper, charcoal and colored pencils have a collage effect with comic exaggeration. Silent, clothed frogs that add to the humor appear with the named pirates on every page, brawling, cheering, laughing and gasping as circumstances demand. The final two pages depict all 26 pirates together on a boat, allowing readers to revisit them all and guess who is who. Horowitz mined the same abecedarian vein in his Twenty-Six Princesses (2008), so it’s probably fitting that these pirates are all boys. Despite the lack of gender diversity, though, these little-boy buccaneers display a nice range of skin colors and hair textures.

Aye mateys, heave-ho with this bounty of pirate silliness. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25777-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on...


Continuing from their acclaimed Those Shoes (2007), Boelts and Jones entwine conversations on money, motives, and morality.

This second collaboration between author and illustrator is set within an urban multicultural streetscape, where brown-skinned protagonist Ruben wishes for a bike like his friend Sergio’s. He wishes, but Ruben knows too well the pressure his family feels to prioritize the essentials. While Sergio buys a pack of football cards from Sonny’s Grocery, Ruben must buy the bread his mom wants. A familiar lady drops what Ruben believes to be a $1 bill, but picking it up, to his shock, he discovers $100! Is this Ruben’s chance to get himself the bike of his dreams? In a fateful twist, Ruben loses track of the C-note and is sent into a panic. After finally finding it nestled deep in a backpack pocket, he comes to a sense of moral clarity: “I remember how it was for me when that money that was hers—then mine—was gone.” When he returns the bill to her, the lady offers Ruben her blessing, leaving him with double-dipped emotions, “happy and mixed up, full and empty.” Readers will be pleased that there’s no reward for Ruben’s choice of integrity beyond the priceless love and warmth of a family’s care and pride.

Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on children. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6649-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Dog lovers and young Dr. Moreaus alike will guffaw.


Split pages allow mixing and matching sections of 10 purebred canines.

Forget cockapoos and labradoodles—flipping the three segments here back and forth makes for some truly unlikely hybrids: “I’m a Bulldog— / Yorkshire Terrier— / Great Dane mix”; “I’m a Komondor— / Greyhound— / Poodle mix”; “I’m a Dachshund— / Shar-Pei— / Dalmatian mix.” Ball (Flip-O-Storic, 2011) cranks up the drollery with a set of big, handsome pooches drawn and colored to set off their distinctive characteristics, posed naturalistically against plain yellow backgrounds, and looking up or out with doggy devotion. She also adds the occasional tail-pulling puppy, silly hat, or other comical side business. In addition to the identifying captions, Garczynski contributes a table of descriptive information about each breed at the beginning. This includes to-scale silhouettes that are helpful since all of the interior dogs are rendered the same size so that the transitions more or less match up. (Although the Yorkie’s stubby forelegs still make a peculiar mismatch with the lanky hind limbs of the Great Dane.) Also, each sturdy strip features a “personal” observation, such as the Dalmatian’s “I’m known for my distinctive spots. If I open my mouth, you’ll even see spots in there.” Aside from the note of condescension in the Shar-Pei’s claim that its tongue “was once thought to ward off evil spirits,” these last are at least innocuous and sometimes informative.

Dog lovers and young Dr. Moreaus alike will guffaw. (Novelty picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7892-1310-5

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Abbeville Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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