Reviews for Pirates Go to School

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Rhyming text describes how pirates add up skulls in math class, swear on the playground ("Aargh!"), and attempt mutiny at school before settling down for storytime. Watercolor, gouache, and colored-pencil illustrations show the pirates as eager students who just can't contain their enthusiasm. There's humor to be found in the premise, but it's a little less uproarious than advertised.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 June #1

Demas' latest throws together adult pirates and regular kids at school, but the combination doesn't really mesh, making it unsuccessful either at familiarizing kids with school or providing swashbuckling entertainment.

Readers follow the antics of a crew of pirates through a typical elementary school day. They hang their swords in the coatroom, make clay cannonballs in art class, share treasure maps at show-and-tell time, have squid for lunch, snore through nap time, get scolded for swearing at recess and clean up at the end of the day. "Pirates learn their letters: / X (marks the spot), Y, Z. / Pirates learn arithmetic: / Two skulls plus one is three." While Demas' rhymes mostly rollick, a few miss the beat, and the parrots' habit of repeating everything after the pirates gets a little old. Manders' watercolor, gouache and colored pencil artwork is delightfully silly, full of details that maximize the incongruity of the contrast between pirates and kindergartners. But he ultimately fails to bring the pirates and kids together, creating a separation that dooms the book—the kids are merely uncertain and insecure onlookers to the pirates' activities. 

Don't be hornswoggled—give this the heave-ho and seek pirate (and school) booty elsewhere. (Picture book. 4-7)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 May #4

When pirates go to school, they bring their parrots and hang their swords on the coat rack, and if you sit next to one, "better hold your nose because/ they smell of rotting fish." These elementary-age swashbucklers, like their more conventional peers, can be unruly, enthusiastic, and obedient--sure, they get in trouble for swearing and threaten mutiny, but they also happily participate in arts and crafts and clean up after their messes. Demas offers some fun phrases throughout, while Manders creates a cast of amiable ruffians that most kids would be happy to spend the day with. Ages 3-8. (July)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 July

K-Gr 2--What would pirates do at school? The question is answered in rhyming verse and lighthearted cartoon images. With swords neatly hung in the coatroom and parrots echoing a greeting to the teacher, the pirates attack their lessons: "X (marks the spot), Y, Z." A little art, a storytime about ships at sea, math with "skull" counting manipulatives, treasure maps for show-and-tell, and "walk the plank" on the playground fill the day. The eager-to-learn pirates learn to clean up after their parrots and not to swear (lest they suffer a time-out). Boldly colored scenes in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil are paired with a nonthreatening ensemble, introducing imaginative readers to a typical school day. Details on each page encourage searching for images associated with these seafaring scoundrels--down to the school bus marked with a skull and crossbones. A humorous read and a general purchase for most libraries.--Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX

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