BOB’S BEST-EVER FRIEND

The hardworking, lantern-jawed gent introduced in Man on the Moon (2002) finds doggy (more or less) companionship in this cheerfully oddball sequel. Searching for “a pal who’ll always be by my side,” Bob mopes through an ordinary Earth day of solitary meals and errands (spaceship batteries and Moon-patterned underwear) before rocketing off to work as a guide and performer for lunar tourists. The ordinary events described in Bartram’s text find hilarious counterpoint in the seemingly staid illustrations. As Bob obliviously goes about his business, sharp-eyed viewers will pick out small alien hands snatching every cupcake in sight, pigeons and other city residents transformed with bright colors and eyes on stalks and, in nearly every scene, a small tail-wagger who looks just like a puppy save for the single eye atop its head. Of course, Bob and this last do ultimately hook up, and go off blissfully together. Fans of Chris Gall’s There’s Nothing To Do On Mars (2008) and William Joyce’s classic Day With Wilbur Robinson (1990, 2006) will be richly entertained. Value added: a glow-in-the-dark poster inside the jacket. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2009

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HOW I BECAME A PIRATE

Thanks to parrot-toting Braidbeard and his gloriously disreputable crew, a lad discovers the ups and downs of a pirate’s life in this rousing mini-epic. His mom and dad busy on another part of the beach, young Jeremy happily joins a band of hook-handed, eye-patched, snaggle-toothed pirates aboard their ship, learning pirate table manners (none), enjoying a game of nautical soccer until a shark eats the ball, then happily retiring without having to brush teeth, or even don pajamas. But then Jeremy learns that pirates don’t get tucked in, or get bedtime stories, and as for good night kisses—Avast! Worse yet, no one offers comfort when a storm hits. So, giving over the pirate’s life, Jeremy shows the crew where to bury its treasure (his backyard), and bids them goodbye. Shannon outfits Braidbeard’s leering, pop-eyed lot in ragged but colorful pirate dress, and gives his young ruffian-in-training a belt and bandanna to match. This isn’t likely to turn pirate wannabees into landlubbers, but it will inspire a chorus of yo-ho-hos. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-15-201848-4

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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