cover image Are Pirates Polite?

Are Pirates Polite?

Corinne Demas and Artemis Roehrig, illus. by David Catrow. Orchard, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-545-62874-7

In an uneven send-up of pirates’ manners, Catrow’s (Fun in the Sun) boisterous mixed-media illustrations spotlight a bumbling pirate crew demonstrating respectful and unacceptable behavior alike, though they tend to blur together. At times, the action in the images takes some work to decode, or doesn’t quite match up with the verse; in one scene, the pirate captain sobs while building a model pirate ship (his parrot has apparently stolen his miniature flag) as three mateys look on (“pirates never interrupt/ when another pirate’s talking”). Demas and Roehrig, the mother-daughter team behind the recent Does a Fiddler Crab Fiddle?, establish a playful, singsong rhythm as they jump between bad behavior and good, but several rhymes require linguistic somersaults to come together (“While pirates are in battle,/ to push ahead is fine./ But when it’s time to board the boat,/ pirates wait in line”). Even so, Catrow’s caricatures will keep many readers giggling as these scallywags try—more or less—to mind their manners. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Mitchell Waters, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Brian Keliher, Keliher Literary Management. (Nov.)