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Monday, July 15, 2013

A Pirate's Guide to Recess, written by James Preller and illustrated by Greg Ruth. Feiwel and Friends, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2013. $18.99 ages 5 and up

"Double quick now,
me buckos," cried Red.
"Swab the deck,
swash the buckles."

"Aye, aye, Cap'n Red,"
the merry crew replied."

I hope you met these adventurous buccaneers in their first guide, A Pirate's Guide to First Grade (2010).  If not, check at the library to see if you can borrow it, or buy a copy for your own library.

This time Red and Molly are captains of competing teams in a swashbuckling caper on the playground at recess. Red is ahead as they race outside to make the most of the time given for dramatic undertakings. He's been daydreaming all the action as he waited for the recess bell to ring. Molly follows close at his heels as they explode onto the schoolyard.

Then, it's adventure at its finest. Using spirited pirate language and a remarkable artistic style first seen in their initial guide allows the two young students to fill every minute of the break imagining life on the high seas. Each has a crew of their own. The pencil sketching used to create the pirate story is awesome, and will have listeners glued to their every move. I found myself 'reading' the real story first and then adding the pirate's part to the telling. I was keen to see everything in all of the detailed spreads. And the language just begs for the story to be read aloud...over and over again!

"Alas, Red's crew had no stomach for swordplay.
They shook in their boots most fearfully.
"Call yourselves pirates?!" Red thundered.
"Ye will fight, or walk the plank!"

The imagination is an amazing thing in young children. James Preller has created another stellar adventure that will captivate and entertain his audience while encouraging them to take to the ships and leave the landlubbers in their dust. Greg Ruth brings the pirates to glorious and gruesome life, and leaves readers always wanting more.

And there's learn all the terms that have great importance if you are longing to be a pirate! Get to it, mateys!

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