THE TREASURE OF PIRATE FRANK

A lightweight quest with a climactic surprise.

A treasure map doesn’t specify all the hazards on the way to a pirate’s hoard.

Modeled on “The House that Jack Built,” the cumulative narrative takes a young buccaneer and his eyepatch-wearing dog over diverse terrains (“This is the swamp where bullfrogs sing / past the forest where monkeys swing / over the mountains snowy and cold / on the island of spice and gold”) to where Pirate Frank’s treasure lies. Unfortunately, when the lad arrives at the designated spot, he’s shocked to discover that the treasure is guarded by Pirate (Sally) Frank herself (“She’s not on the map!”). Back over the island to his ship she chases him as the rhyme unreels. Tuya depicts both young freebooters as white children in typical pirate garb (with, for Sally, the addition of a ruffled tutu) and places them in pleasant landscapes replete with, as occasion demands, monkeys, frogs, or flowers. As the lad looks like a nebbish and his nemesis, who sports orange Pippi Longstocking–style braids, seems only slightly fiercer, the contretemps has a playful air.

A lightweight quest with a climactic surprise. (map) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9644-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

GAME OVER, SUPER RABBIT BOY!

From the Press Start! series , Vol. 1

A strong series start.

In a video game, a superpowered rabbit must rescue a singing dog that brings everyone happiness.

In the frame story, a brown-skinned human protagonist plays a video game on a handheld console evocative of the classic Nintendo Gameboy. The bulk of the book relates the game’s storyline: Animal Town is a peaceful place where everyone is delighted by Singing Dog, until the fun-hating King Viking (whose black-mustachioed, pink-skinned looks reference the Super Mario Brothers game series villain, Wario) uses his army of robots to abduct Singing Dog. To save Singing Dog—and fun—the animals send the fastest among them, Simon the Hedgehog, to get Super Rabbit Boy (who gains speed and jumping powers by eating special carrots) to save the day. The chapters take Super Rabbit Boy through video game levels, with classic, video game–style settings and enemies. Throughout the book, when the game’s player loses either a life in the game or the game entirely, the unnamed kid must choose to persevere and not give up. The storylines are differentiated by colorful art styles—cartoonish for the real world, 8-bit pixel-sprite–style for the game. The fast, repetitive plot uses basic, simple sentences and child-friendly objects of interest, such as lakes of lava, for children working on reading independence, while the nerdy in-jokes benefit adults reading with a child.

A strong series start. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-03472-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

HOW TO CATCH A REINDEER

These reindeer games are a bit tired but, given the series’ popularity, should have a large, ready-made audience.

The How to Catch A… crew try for Comet.

Having already failed to nab a Halloween witch, the Easter Bunny, a turkey, a leprechaun, the Tooth Fairy, and over a dozen other iconic trophies in previous episodes of this bestselling series, one would think the racially diverse gaggle of children in Elkerton’s moonlit, wintry scenes would be flagging…but no, here they lay out snares ranging from a loop of garland to an igloo baited with reindeer moss to an enticing candy cane maze, all in hopes of snagging one of Santa’s reindeer while he’s busy delivering presents. Infused with pop culture–based Christmas cheer (“Now I’ve already seen the shelf with the elf”), Comet prances past the traps until it’s time to gather up the kids, most of whom look terrified, for a group snapshot with the other reindeer and then climb back into harness: “This was a great stop but a few million to go / Christmas Eve must continue with style!” Though festive, the verse feels trite and unlikely to entice youngsters. A sprinkling of “True Facts About Reindeer” (“They live in the tundra, where they have friends like the arctic bunny”) wrap up this celebration of the predatory spirit. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

These reindeer games are a bit tired but, given the series’ popularity, should have a large, ready-made audience. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 9781728276137

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2022

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