cover image Pajama Pirates

Pajama Pirates

Andrew Kramer, illus. by Leslie Lammle, Harper, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-125194-8

Lammle (Once Upon a Saturday) creates a gratifyingly warm world for newcomer Kramer's story of three children's nightly pirate game. The siblings jump on their beds ("Let others sleep;/ their day is done./ The treasure hunt/ has just begun") as they imagine an adventure for themselves. They sport cute, clownlike noses and fuzzy bedwear as they board a rowboat, their bedroom giving way to the scalloped waves of the sea, the horizon curving gently beneath them. Each spread is characterized by lots of movement; strong contrast defines and sculpts the chubby figures, and deftly applied white brushstrokes put sparkle on the waves and shine on somersaulting fish. Menaced by shiploads of non-pajama-wearing pirates, the oldest child, draped in a terrycloth bathrobe, strokes her chin and wonders what to do (" ‘Ye be shark bait, swim or sink!'/ Pajama pirates stop to think"). The three make the sail into a ghostly, flapping apparition, and the terrified pirates flee. But even these pirates have their betters, as Mama Nature, appearing as a cloud, sends them back to bed for further buccaneer dreams. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)