A small dinosaur earns the respect of a scaly crew of dino-pirates with a clever bit of conflict resolution.
Slack’s pictures are busy with glowering, crocodile-toothed dinos of diverse hue in full piratical regalia, and it’s a good thing, as they add much-needed wind to the sails of Funk’s lubberly, exclamation-mark–laden verse: “With lots to learn, / I’ve got to earn / The crew’s respect and trust,” the would-be swabbie confides. “I’ll rise in rank or / Walk the plank… / I hope I can adjust!” Frantic efforts to do any shipboard task competently fail—sometimes in ways that serve meter and rhyme over actual sense: “I scrub and brush in such a rush / She throws me overboard!” Still, when half of a torn treasure map leads to an island dust-up with a rival crew of pirasaurs clutching the other half, a suggestion to share map and loot makes his “dream to join the team” come true at last: “This crew and I are linked. / With gems, doubloons, and silver spoons / We’ll never go extinct!”
Prehistoric pirates are always worth a play, as is the peaceable theme, but such amateurish writing merits only the old heave-ho. (Picture book. 6-8)