Kirkus Reviews QR Code
TOUGH BORIS by Mem Fox

TOUGH BORIS

By Mem Fox (Author) , Kathryn Brown (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-15-289612-0
Publisher: Harcourt

In Brown's swashbuckling watercolors, Boris is tough indeed -- hirsute, craggy, grim -- but then, "All pirates are tough." As Fox's text succinctly points out, he's also "massive," "scruffy," "greedy," and "fearless," all qualities demonstrated in the illustrations as he seizes a violin from one of his crew, threatens the whole ugly lot after it's been purloined (readers will know that the stowaway boy, who earlier watched while the pirates buried their treasure, is the real culprit). The "scary" pirates catch the boy but soften when they hear him play; and when Boris's parrot dies, the boy helps him put it in the violin case for burial at sea and Boris cries and cries -- "All pirates cry." These pirates also let the boy keep the violin when they row him home. Kids are sure to enjoy puzzling out the real story from the pictures, to which, in the end, the text's childlike stereotyping makes an amusing contrast. (Picture book. 4-8)