Reviews for Twenty-Six Pirates

Booklist Reviews 2013 September #2
The inside of the dust jacket informs the reader that Captain Frogbeard requires a crew for an "alphabetical journey, no rules, good rhymes, big adventure, bigger squids, safe return not guaranteed." Twenty-six boys, named from A to Z, join the incumbent crew of frogs for swashbuckling high jinks (although it should be noted that we do not actually see Pirate Nat, who lost his hat--just the fly-away lid). The fun of the book is in the illustrations and the rhymes created around each boy's name: "Pirate Chuck. Pushing his luck"; "Pirate Owen. Where's he going?"; "Pirate Ulysses. Swims with the fishies." The cut-paper illustrations are silly and appealing, with the expressions of the bug-eyed frogs providing a sort of visual Greek chorus to the escapades of the boys. The lack of girl pirates is unfortunate but understandable if this is viewed as a bookend to Twenty-Six Princesses (2008)--though some girls will undoubtedly prefer pirates to princesses. Sure to be a hit with buccaneers and landlubbers alike. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Quick rhyming sentences introduce spunky little pirate boys with alphabetically ordered names, from "Pirate Arty. First to the party" to "Pirate Zach. The final attack." Illustrations use cut construction paper and charcoal and colored-pencil drawn lines to create a sense of these pirates' exuberance. A punchy way to learn the alphabet, but some examples feel forced ("Pirate Samson. Awfully handsome.").

Kirkus Reviews 2013 May #1
Yo ho ho, it's an alphabetical parade of pirates--by name! These 26 cleverly illustrated and unexpected rhyming name choices are bound to tickle readers' timbers. "Pirate ARTY. First to the party. // Pirate BRAD. Born to be bad." Each pirate receives a full-page portrait that depicts him (they are all boys) engaged in the behavior described. Pirate Lee, who needs to pee, quivers outside the head, hands over his crotch. Pirate Quaid, who is not afraid, nevertheless looks a little dubious as giant octopus tentacles loom. Pirate Tony, who is fall of baloney, happily munches a sandwich. And so on. The illustrations of construction paper, charcoal and colored pencils have a collage effect with comic exaggeration. Silent, clothed frogs that add to the humor appear with the named pirates on every page, brawling, cheering, laughing and gasping as circumstances demand. The final two pages depict all 26 pirates together on a boat, allowing readers to revisit them all and guess who is who. Horowitz mined the same abecedarian vein in his Twenty-Six Princesses (2008), so it's probably fitting that these pirates are all boys. Despite the lack of gender diversity, though, these little-boy buccaneers display a nice range of skin colors and hair textures. Aye mateys, heave-ho with this bounty of pirate silliness. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 June

PreS-Gr 1--Despite appealingly piratical illustrations, this swashbuckling title is thin on story and unsuccessful as an alphabet book. Each letter is represented by a boy's name, followed by a rhyming statement about him. It begins, "Pirate Arty. First to the party" and ends with, "Pirate Zach. The final attack." While the concept is clever enough, the names are written in a medieval-style type, preventing easy recognition by youngsters learning their letters. Additionally, the name choices are not always effective at presenting the appropriate sounds. The most problematic is the letter "J," Pirate Juan, which does not make the English "j" sound. The humorous collage illustrations are grotesquely cartoonish, slightly reminiscent of the work of David Shannon or Victoria Chess. The multicultural boys have huge, blocklike teeth, oversize heads, semicircle noses, and googly eyes. Busily doing everything from eating, to swimming, to walking the plank, they are joined on every page by bug-eyed frogs that add to the humor and tie the story together. The art will likely be a big hit with pirate fans everywhere, and a few sophisticated asides will appeal to parents, but those hoping for a plot or in search of books for an alphabet bin will need to look elsewhere.--Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT

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