An intrepid redhead à la Pippi Longstocking sails the seven seas tracking down the most feared pirate ship in all the world—the Black Croc.
In this piratical offering from Spain, Daniela is determined to join the Black Croc’s nefarious crew, and nothing the captain demands quells her indomitable spirit. Swim to the bottom of the sea and back again with a giant squid—no problem. One hundred squats while hoisting a treasure-filled chest overhead—bring it on. Jump into a croc-infested pit—piece of cake. Be a pirate—nope! Girls can’t be pirates. Chauvinistic Capt. Choppylobe will not be budged, so his commendably diverse crew takes a vote. Hooray for Capt. Daniela! The Black Croc is still the scourge of the seven seas…and an equal-opportunity outfit to boot. Isern’s salty (but a trifle long) tale reads equally smoothly in both the original Spanish (publishing in the U.S. simultaneously) and English translation, with the exception of the odd-sounding captain’s name. Orejacortada could have been translated as Sliced-ear, Nicked-ear, Chopped-ear, etc. Gómez’s exuberant and colorfully detailed illustrations carry the sagging midpoint forward and reinforce the Pippi Longstocking motif. From Daniela’s superhuman strength to her very own treasure chest, echoes of the Swedish icon haunt the text. But even the grimacing Black Croc’s prow smiles by story’s end despite the buccaneers’ heavy-handed if praiseworthy speech about fairness.
Readers will enjoy spotting a pile of books, a basketball, and a skateboard among Daniela’s personal cargo as they go adventuring with her and her scurvy crew. (Picture book. 4-8)