CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 37. . . .May 29, 2015
OK, me hearties! Gather round for a good old rollicking pirate yarn, one with a twist. Barnacle Garrick is your typical fierce pirate, with proud, bold and selfish ways, all prized qualities of his pirate crew. Yet his daughter has the opposite nature, something which Barnacle finds troublesome. She is neither saucy, bold or selfish. Her kindness and helpful ways are scorned. Good-hearted Augusta is determined to please her father and show she can be ruthless and bold. She actually does something “selfish” to Scully, a fellow pirate with a peg leg, something which she comes to regret. But, in a severe storm, she proves her mettle and her resourcefulness and overcomes a possible disaster at sea by being bold and saucy, barking out orders and taking action that saves the day through a selfless act. Barnacle has to admit that this quality should also be valued. Although Augusta is intimidated by her father’s pirate-like expectations in the beginning, her strength of character wins out!
The text begs to read aloud by a parent or teacher with great dramatic flourish and a pirate accent. Words that describe different character traits are highlighted for emphasis. The slang and nautical terms are included on the endpapers. Readers be warned: there may be questions from the little ones, like my grandson, as to the “fate of the peg leg”. As always, Griffiths’ artwork is outstanding. The lively text is wonderfully complemented with high-spirited and energetic drawings, full of bold colours and great detail. Bad Pirate is artfully designed. Much of the pirate dialogue cleverly appears on floating pieces of sail. The pirates’ being portrayed as very expressive dogs has a dynamic comic effect. Various breeds are cleverly used, and these delightful “sea dogs” should require a second look. Griffiths also makes use of many different perspectives to simulate vibrant sea action.
Both writer and illustrator have many children’s books and awards to their credit. Their depth of experience and creative ability results in a feisty, fun tale.
Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.