Mother Goose exchanges sweet niceties for cutlasses, eyepatches, and gold teeth galore in this piratical updating of nursery-rhyme favorites.
If you’ve never wondered what Miss Muffet would look like in a cap decorated with a skull or pondered how Jack Horner would fare with a peg leg, now’s the time to remedy this woeful lack of imagination. Twenty-two classic nursery rhymes get a swashbuckling overhaul as Wee Willie Winkie becomes Pretty Polly Pirate, and Jack Sprat is upgraded to Capt. Jack. The book gets off to a rough start, scansion being its biggest difficulty in poems like “Rub-a-dub-dub” and “One Misty Moisty Morning.” Some poems get only minimal makeovers, merely substituting pirate terms for the original rhymes’ nouns (see: “Rock-a-by, Pirate”). Unsurprisingly, the best poems are the ones that are the most creative. For example, changing “London Bridge Is Falling Down” to “Ye Can Talk Like Pirates Talk” turns the rhyme into inspired interactive storytime fare. Each poem credits its original so that readers needn’t figure out the references from mere context or rhyme scheme. The rambunctious cartoon-style art does its share of the heavy lifting, presenting a nicely diverse array of salty sea dogs (even girls!) that exude boisterous vim and vigor.
Nit-picking aside, here be a collection that pint-sized pirates will be pleased to return to again and again. (Picture book/poetry. 3-8)