________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 27. . . .March 20, 2015


The Pirate Pie Ship. (Race Ahead with Reading).

Adam & Charlotte Guillain. Illustrated by Rupert Van Wyk.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2015.
32 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $10.95 (pbk.), $21.56 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-1368-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-1309-8 (RLB.), ISBN 978-1-4271-7784-1 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4271-7772-8 (html).

Subject Headings:

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Jill Griffith.

*** /4



The Planktown Pirates were tired. They were tired of scaring sailors. They were tired of chasing other ships. They were tired of digging for treasure.

And most of all, they were tired of fighting their pirate rivals, the Gruesome Crew.

So how do the Planktown Pirates solve their pirate fatigue? By becoming master chefs, baking pies, and outwitting the Gruesome Crew at their own game, reinfusing vigour into their pirate lives, while making some good coin in the process!


The Pirate Pie Ship is another title in the “Race Ahead with Reading” series for children – at least 12 titles in the series to date. All have fun titles and subjects that will appeal to early readers. As readers go, The Pirate Pie Ship has enough fun, action and intrigue (read “pirates”) to keep them interested from beginning to end. It is structured as a chapter book with five chapters to move the action along. The pirate names will also delight children with their creativity – Captain Cuttlefish, Captain Sharkfin and Manta Ray Jack – and, of course, any child raised with the modern day food trucks will love the competition between the rival “food boats”.

     Rupert Van Wyk’s watercolour illustrations are bright, lively and fun, invoking Caribbean shorelines. Children will have fun finding the details that complement the text – the pirate tattoos are particularly comical!

     A note on the “Notes to Adults” – I admire the intentions of Crabtree to give parents some guidance in their child’s reading by including this page at the end of the book. Unfortunately, it comes across as overly educational, speaking more to a teacher teaching a class than parents (text-to-text connections, text-to-self connections, etc.) reading with their child. Although the book is a reader, it’s a bonus when a reader can stand on its own as a story and the child appreciates a book for both the effort s/he has made reading it, and for the story s/he gets out of it. Ask children to find the skull and crossbones throughout the illustrations, not to find and analyse the moral or lesson.

      All in all, a good story that will ably assist children in making the transition from picture book and beginning reader to chapter book.


Jill Griffith is the Youth Services Manager at Red Deer Public Library in Red Deer, AB.

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

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.
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ISSN 1201-9364
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