________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 21 . . . . June 23, 2006


Princess June and the Shadow Pirates.

Douglas Hopkins.
St. John's, NL: Tuckamore Books, 2005.
32 pp., pbk., $11.95.
ISBN 1-894294-88-2.

Subject Headings:
Princesses-Juvenile fiction.
Pirates-Juvenile fiction.
Problem solving-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Christina Neigel.

*1/2 /4


From atop their horses, June and Ian watched in dismay as the crippled ships drifted into the black water. At the moment, Prince Ian realized the seriousness of the situation and his thoughts fell on June's well being. ‘I want you to ride to the foot of the hills,' he yelled over the roar of the pirate ship's cannons. ‘Stay there until I come for you.' He leaned over and kissed June's quivering cheek. Then the Prince and Princess began to ride their horses through the village. All around them, the village folk were running to the hills for safety. June tried to keep her horse clam, but the crowd of screaming villagers scared him and sent him running off in the wrong direction. Prince Ian, trapped in the moving crowd, was unable to chase after his sister. ‘June!' he cried, watching the Princess disappear into the forest.

A sudden attack by the dreaded Shadow Pirates hurls Princess June, a young adventure-seeking girl, into a dangerous quest to save her kingdom. After a near fatal fall, Princess June befriends a hot air balloon man who helps her in her quest to save her people. When all appears lost, June and her companion find the help they need in a wayward dove who leads them to the Bird Emperor. The Emperor reveals the secret to defeating the pirates, and June and her friends are able to defeat this evil horde.

internal art

     The story begins as a tale being told by an old lighthouse keeper to his grandchildren that segues into the actual story of Princess June. The illustrations appear to be computer generated. The illustrations are not effectively integrated into the text (seems somewhat choppy). In fact, the colour, contrast, and smoothness of the images remind me of a video game. Thus, each image lacks a certain artistic quality and seems more like a still image from a moving picture. There are many awkward uses of grammar in this work. For example, “‘I have flown over these hills; in fact, I have a map that will show us the way.'” In addition, the dialogue has a forced element and lacks a natural flow, thereby affecting the overall tone of the book. The ending of the book, which is rather sudden and does not tie back into the lighthouse keeper and his grandchildren, causes the story to stop abruptly. In essence, this work seems in need of further edits. In addition, the illustrative component is unique and somewhat unappealing. Based on these flaws, I would not recommend this work for purchase.

Not recommended.

Christina Neigel is an Instructor at the University College of the Fraser Valley for the Library and Information Technology Program in Abbotsford, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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