A lubberly addition to the fleet, kept afloat by its pictures.


From the Want to Know series

Light scrapings of pirate lore are delivered by two children dressed to the hilt for their roles and leading a ragged but distinctly nonfearsome crew.

Billy and Belle are playing pirates at the beach. Transformed into swashbuckling buccaneers by the flip of a half-page, they proceed to offer ingenuous disquisitions on the nature and history of piracy (“Did you know many pirates steal from other people because they are very poor?”). They also cover piratical dress, behavior, shipboard tasks and lingo, followed by a spot of smoky but nonviolent plundering. Then it’s time to go ashore for a quick chantey, a matching game that encourages drawing lines between pirate heads and hats, and a set of review questions (“What’s the leader of a pirate ship called?”). The text isn’t much more than inconsequential ballast (“It is considered bad luck for girls to be on board a pirate ship. That’s why girl pirates dress up as boys”). Nevertheless, the cleanly drawn, brightly hued cartoon illustrations—climaxed by a double-gatefold cutaway view of a capacious ship crewed by cheery idlers—sail along airily enough to keep budding buccaneers entertained.

A lubberly addition to the fleet, kept afloat by its pictures. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60537-135-1

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.


A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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