The Pirate Cruncher

Jonny Duddle, Author . Candlewick/Templar $15.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4876-3

Duddle's debut launches a boatload of silliness, as Captain Purplebeard and his crew of babbling, bumbling pirates set sail in search of treasure. Galvanized by a skeletal fiddler's chantey about “an island of gold,” the pirates ignore his warning that “none who've tried to set foot on its sands/ have ever returned to pirate lands.” Most have second thoughts when the fiddler adds that they're apt to encounter a pirate-eating beast, but the greedy captain is undeterred: “Any cowardly landlubbers will be tossed in the sea./ The only thing you should be scared of is me!” Boisterous, flashy digital illustrations (the entire book could be a storyboard for an animated short film) are paired with b&w line drawings (in thought balloons), which present the apprehensive crew members' outlandish imaginings of the bloodthirsty creature. The page showing the pirates' landing folds down to reveal that the island is actually the very top of a sharp-toothed, octopus-like monster, who gobbles the pirates with a loud “crunch!” Though the verse's rhythm is occasionally rocky, the pirates' humorous chatter and the art's exuberance more than compensate. Ages 3–up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/29/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
Paperback - 31 pages - 978-1-84877-378-3
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