The terror of the seas is not flesh-and-blood; he’s all skin-and-bones!
Surfing the ocean on a detached hatch, the Skeleton Pirate waves his cutlass and declares, “I’ll never be beaten!” He vanquishes a giant patchwork sea serpent, but a full ship’s complement of living pirates chains him up and throws him into the briny deep. Luckily, a friendly mermaid with a skeleton key swims by and frees him—but an enormous whale swallows them both. Inside its belly is a huge array of priceless pirate swag, including a golden ship encrusted with jewels. The Skeleton Pirate hatches an escape plan; he and the mermaid travel through the whale’s insides to a rounded door right at the ear. Opening it carefully, the Pirate tells the whale all about the booty in his stomach. “No wonder I feel so ill,” the whale declares. The Skeleton Pirate says he knows exactly what to do. He and the mermaid load up the golden ship and sail away into the sunset. Dropping to one knee in front of the mermaid, he produces a diamond ring and says, “I think I’ve been beaten at last.” Both Lucas’ over-the-top yarn and loopy larger-than-life ink-and-watercolor cartoon illustrations wink at readers while producing one clever surprise after another.
Exhilarating pirate fare. (Picture book. 4-8)