THE PIRATE, PINK

Jan Day, Author, Janeen I. Mason, Illustrator
Jan Day, Author, Janeen I. Mason, Illustrator , illus. by Janeen I. Mason. Pelican $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56554-879-4
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Like father, like daughter? Not for this pirate duo. Young Pink is eager to accompany the dread pirate Red Beard to sea, and imagines that she'll soon learn "to be just like dear old dad." Her approach to piracy is a little different, however—she warns potential prize ships off, and successfully protests when an elderly countess (who subsequently and inexplicably disappears from the story) is forced to walk the plank. Choppy writing and a limp plot quickly scuttle this production. More problematically, the author's reinforcement of traditional gender roles undercuts the apparent message about self-determination. Ladylike Pink doesn't like the "scary old flag with its skull and crossbones aflap in the wind" and replaces it with "a bit of lace from Dad Beard's shirt," for instance, and the story culminates with her forsaking pirate-style adventure and returning home "to her mother's knee," where she dreams of a ship with a flag "sewn of a pale rose silk." As a pirate, Pink may not choose to shiver anybody's timbers, but she doesn't shiver her audience's, either. Debut illustrator Mason's exaggerated watercolors add a measure of humor, but ultimately can't plug the many leaks in this boat. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

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