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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Captain Jack and the Pirates, written by Peter Bently and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Puffin, Penguin. 2016. $14.99 ages 4 and up

"Their proud pirate flag
fluttered high in the breeze -
and then the ships sailed
into stormier seas ...

The wind became stronger.
    "Hold on to the sail!"
cried Jack as they battled
a tropical gale."

With Halloween just around the corner, you know that you are sure to have a few pesky pirates in your classroom, and at your door to collect their booty. Some kids love pirate language, pirate lore, pirate treasure and looking like a pirate. It seems we can never get enough books about them. So, I wanted to tell you about Jack's new adventure.

You may remember Captain Jack and the Dragon, 2011. Jack, Zak and Caspar are preschool friends who share time, imagination and a spirit that makes them a most pleasing trio. We find them at the beach, pails and shovels in hand, and bent on creating a new and wonderful world.

"Jack, Zak and Caspar,
                brave mariners three,
were building a galleon down by the sea.

Up rose the sides
       and the stern and the bow.
Zak, the ship's bosun, worked hard
                            on the prow."
Filled with lively language and a lilting rhyme, young listeners will be delighted to join them as they venture out to sea aboard their trusty sailboat. Their scary encounter with a swarthy band of pirates is both frightening and exhilarating.  

While the words tell one story, Helen Oxenbury fills in the many details of the imaginative play that young children so love! Her engaging artwork is full of joy and shows the real alongside the fantasy  as the three create a world that is inspiring and full of action. The warmth of the sandy seashore and the cool of the wind-whipped ocean offer a story that is most entertaining. When a storm puts a stop to their adventure, their search for treasure is realized (thanks to Dad).

Your audience will find much to 'treasure' as you share this fine tale. What fun it is to read aloud!

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