Fish Finelli: Seagulls Don't eat Pickles & More Pirate Stories
Awhile ago, I did a roundup of pirate picture books. Now it's time to review some pirate chapter books and graphic novels.
Chapter Books (Younger Readers)
Fish Finelli: Seagulls Don't Eat Pickles, by E.S. Farber, Illustrated by Jason Beene (Chronicle Books, 2013). In this illustrated middle grade story, Fish Finelli is a smart, adventure-loving boy who sets off to find Captain Kidd's legendary lost treasure buried in a small island in Long Island sound. He and his buddies get into scrapes and near-disasters as they find a treasure map, avoid a Mystery Man on a similar quest, and arrive at Lyons Island to search for the treasure. What I liked about this book was the many factoids and illustrated side bars that gave interesting information, such as the history of pieces of eight or Nikolas Tesla. Fish Finelli also includes scientific tidbits in conversation, such as the definition of amps, the principles of photosynthesis, and the fact that seagulls don't like pickles. My one criticism was that the ending came abruptly and seemed a bit too pat. This review was based on an Advanced Reader Copy that I won through Library Thing.
The Six Crowns: Trundle's Quest, by Allan Jones, illustrated by Gary Chalk (Greenwillow Books 2010). Like many a reluctant hero, Trundle is a bookish homebody of a hedgehog, happy to live his lamplighter life. A mysterious princess/gypsy hedgehog named Esmeralda barrels her way into his life, cajoling him into a quest to find six mythical crowns. I included this in the pirate roundup because the hedgehogs' main adversaries are dastardly pirates in the form of hogs, rats, and shrews. Trundle and Esmeralda manage to elude the pirates, save a mineful of slaves, and test their abilities. The best part of this book was the relationship between Trundle and Emerald, including their witty banter and their growing friendship. This is a nice introduction to fantasy for young readers.
Graphic Novels (Older Readers)
The Littlest Pirate King, by David B. & Pierre Mac Orlan (Fantagraphic Books, 2010, translated by Kim Thompson).This is a slightly (ok, quite disturbingly) creepy graphic novel of a ship of dead skeletal pirates who plunder and wreak havoc on passing ships. One day, after the usual devastation, they find themselves in charge of an orphaned baby boy. They agree to rear him until his First Communion and then slay him to have a dead little cabin boy, but soon they find themselves taking care of him, playing with him, and after a crisis of conscience, deciding to return the boy to the land of the living. But the boy only knows death and dead pirates and does not want to part with the only family he knows. This story is not for the faint of heart or for young children.