The kidnapping of one of Santa’s elves results in mutiny by the pirate crew of a ship called the Knotty List.
After a wild battle, the tiny kidnapped elf and the pirate crew seize the ship and send Cap’n McNasty off on a skiff with only one oar. He finds his way to a new life on an island where he meets a wild-haired woman with “whiskers on her chin” as well as her own eye patch and peg leg. The elf leads the pirate crew to the North Pole, where they join Santa’s workforce, helping to turn out a line of teddy bears with eye patches and hooks on one paw. The pirate captain might be a cousin of Capt. Hook, complete with eye patch, peg leg, and a sharp, hook-shaped prosthesis replacing a missing hand. Though these are standard pirate tropes, their use is problematic in an era of disability awareness. Cap’n McNasty narrates the rhyming story in an exuberant piratical tone with a surfeit of exclamation marks. Broadly humorous cartoon illustrations use a dark, subdued palette with amusing details tucked into the scenes, but the overall effect is garish and crowded. Cap’n McNasty and some of the pirates have tan skin, while all the elves appear to be white. Several of the elves and redheaded pirate Poutin’ Pam are females.
Alas and alack—no buried treasure here. (Picture book. 4-7)