The Night Pirates

Peter Harris, Author, Deborah Allwright, Illustrator , illus. by Deborah Allwright. Scholastic $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-79959-1

It's one laugh after another in this razzle-dazzle bedtime tale from the team behind Perfect Prudence . A mob of indomitable pirates—"rough, tough little girl pirates" whom Allwright depicts with enormous hats twice as big as they are—snatch the front of Tom's house in a daring nighttime raid (yes—the whole façade). Tom then asks them to accept him as a shipmate. "And did the girl captain say, 'Certainly not! You're only a boy!' Oh, no, not at all! Instead she roared, 'Welcome aboard!' " Cleverly disguising their ship with the front of Tom's house, the girl pirates and their new matey ambush a gang of grown-up pirates asleep on a desert island. "I've seen a house!" the stumpy pirate captain gasps. "We've all seen houses," the dozing pirates reply. "Who cares?" Allwright joins the rollicking fun with her full-bleed spreads, spooling out the treasure theme with footstep paths through the drawings, and applying old map and graph cutouts as collage elements. The grown-up pirates don't stand a chance, of course. Snatching the pirates' treasure chest, the diminutive pirate clan sails off with it. "Captain Patch stamped his feet and shouted his worst pirate curse, 'If you don't give me back my treasure, I'll tell my mommy!' " Satisfying repetition ("Down down down the dark dark street they came") and gentle parodies of the usual stereotypes will make this a read-aloud favorite. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 03/01/2006
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