Reviews for Pirates Vs. Cowboys

Booklist Reviews 2013 March #1
Linguistic jargon gets plenty of play as the titular pirates and cowboys face off in this fanciful picture book that embraces the popular premise of mixing up oddball characters (think Jon Scieszka's Cowboy and Octopus, 2007, and Patricia Storms' The Pirate and the Penguin, 2009). A sea-creature-staffed pirate crew discovers they need a new place to bury treasure, having used up their seaside real estate. They lumber inland all the way to Cheyenne. Alas, the western town is run by a passel of outlaw cowboys (farm animals, mostly), and trouble begins when neither group understands the other. "Me hearties" armed with cutlasses and looking for "fair scrub and a swish" are countered by rootin'-tootin' gunslingers who demand the pirates "head for the hills." Only Pegleg Highnoon, "the world's only pirate cowboy," can avert the danger. Barneda's beady-eyed acrylics are rendered in the dusty tones of the plains, while generous white space places emphasis upon the text. A goofy, quirky story with a useful and unusual vocabulary-building twist. Yee-haw! Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Too much booty? Just head inland to bury it--that's how a band of animal pirates ends up in Old Cheyenne. The pirates can't understand the cowboys' jargon and vice versa, necessitating a intervention from Pegleg Highnoon, "the world's only pirate cowboy." Reynolds gets the language just right and Barneda's palette of browns and muted colors evokes the dusty Wild West setting.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 December #2
Argot issues nearly spark a brawl in this addition to the trendy "head-to-head mashup" genre. These antagonists confront one another not on the base paths as in Mark Summers and Aaron Frisch's Pirates at the Plate (2012) but on the dusty streets of Old Cheyenne. They square off after noxious Capt. Burnt Beard's uncharacteristically civil "Be ye knowin' where we'd be findin' a fair scrub and a swish?" is greeted with an uncomprehending sneer by Black Bob McKraw and his band of rustlers--themselves "nastier than week-old chili, and twice as gassy." It seems pirates don't speak cowboy, and cowboys don't speak pirate. Happily, the opportune arrival of Pegleg Highnoon, "the world's only pirate cowboy," literally clears the air as he insults both gangs in their respective jargons. Having found common ground ("Yes, it was their stench. But it was a start"), all head amicably for the town's only bathhouse and saloon. Using muddy colors to provide an unwashed look, Barneda pits a scurvy crew of sea creatures led by an octopus against a posse of prairie critters headed up by a scowling bull. All are dressed in occupation-appropriate duds, including Highnoon (a generic-looking reptile presumably intended to be a marine iguana), who sports a mix of iconic gear from peg leg to Stetson. A refreshingly atypical exercise in waging peace, despite the tired "X vs. Y" scenario. (Picture book. 6-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 February #1

The collaborators behind Snowbots return with a tale that gleefully pokes fun at pirate and cowboy vernacular while demonstrating how difficult it can be to find common ground. When Burnt Beard, a surly octopus pirate, needs to stash some booty, he and his crew (which includes a turtle with an eye patch and a goldfish in a bowl) head to Old Cheyenne, territory belonging to Black Bob McKraw and "his gang of rip-roarin' rustlers were nastier than week-old chili, and twice as gassy." Burnt Beard asks where they might "be findin' a fair scrub and a swish," and Black Bob, who doesn't speak pirate, takes offense. After several silly trash-talking exchanges, "Pistols pointed. Swords flashed. Lips sneered. Nostrils flared" in a showdown; luckily, Pegleg Highnoon, "the world's only pirate cowboy," steps in as mediator. Reynolds's tongue-twisting retorts are fun, but sometimes slow the story's pace (and the absence of even one female character is surprising). However, Barneda's cartoon-styled acrylic and pencil illustrations contribute abundant humor (one of the cowboys is a fierce potted cactus) and tension. Ages 5-8. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 February

K-Gr 2--This tale of swashbucklers looking for a place to store their booty while a band of sharpshooters attempts to defend their one-horse town is really about a little miscommunication and the need for a nice hot bath. Unfortunately for Burnt Beard the octopus pirate and Black Bob the bull cowboy, they can't understand each other's colorful language. The author cleverly convinces the audience to sympathize with both sides, as it is unlikely that many children will be able to understand either the pirate idioms or the cowboy slang. When the misunderstandings result in a showdown, a croc named Pegleg Highnoon arrives to save the day. Being fluent in both pirate and cowboy comes in handy for diffusing the situation, but Pegleg's mediation efforts are trumped by the stench of both parties. After seeing that their smelliness is something they have in common, they reconvene after bathing for some grog at the local saloon. Readers will enjoy the comical illustrations and amusing resolution if they can get past the complicated vocabulary and suspend their disbelief about an octopus trying to hide his treasure in the desert.--Jenna Boles, Washington-Centerville Public Library, OH

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