cover image Prince and Pirate

Prince and Pirate

Charlotte Gunnufson, illus. by Mike Lowery. Putnam, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-17604-3

Gunnufson’s goofy story about acceptance and sharing introduces two pet fish who are content in their separate bowls: Prince is a prim sort, with an underwater castle and carriage, while rowdy Pirate sails his schooner and guards his treasure. When they’re both plopped in a large fish tank, they are pleased with their expanded domains—until they realize that they are sharing the tank, resulting in traded insults (“You miserable mollusk!” “Ye worm-eaten peg leg!”) and a dividing line of pebbles marking out their territories. Gunnufson (Halloween Hustle) gives Pirate and Prince big personalities, and their respectively gruff and highbrow comments will make for peppy readalouds. Their animosity ebbs with the arrival of a “lost little dogfish,” who cowers in his miniature doghouse until Prince and Pirate join forces to make him feel welcome. Lowery’s (A Squiggly Story) vivid, loopy cartoons play up the cultural divide between the fishy antagonists, and his hand-lettered, all-caps sound effects and action words (“flick fling sling pitch hurl chuck” as the fish demolish their pebbled dividing line) only add to the fun. Ages 5–8. Illustrator’s agency: Lilla Rogers Studio. (May)