Don't Mention Pirates

Sarah McConnell, Author
Sarah McConnell, Author . Barron's $14.99 (
, $14.99 ISBN ) ISBN 978-0-7641-5945-9
Reviewed on: 06/05/2006
Release date: 00/00/0000
Hardcover - 28 pages - 978-0-340-89343-2
Paperback - 29 pages - 978-0-340-89344-9
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British author/artist McConnell's haphazardly told but ebulliently illustrated story focuses on a family in comic denial about the pirate blood coursing through their veins. (Grandma was none other than "Long Joan Silver" but she died tragically when a giant shrimp devoured her.) The silvers live in a "ship-shaped house" but their motto is "Don't mention pirates." Young Scarlet Silver yearns to embrace her heritage, and when she finds a gold nugget with her metal detector, she's overjoyed to see how it triggers the long-suppressed family DNA. Her mother, father and brother grab shovels and spoons and start digging, sporting kerchiefs and eye patches, and saying, "Aye!" By the time Grandpa reveals the true identity of the gold nugget, the family has dug out its destiny (one spread shows the ship-shaped abode precariously perched above a carved-out basin with nearby water pipes threatening to burst). McConnell devotes perhaps too much space to setting up Scarlet's obsession, and the treasure hunt goes on a bit. But her bright, cartoon-like watercolors emit high energy without feeling manic; the pictures will draw in readers with a genially goofy cast of characters and one goodhearted tickle after another. Ages 4-7. (June)

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