cover image Pirate Boy

Pirate Boy

Eve Bunting, illus. by Julie Fortenberry. Holiday House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2321-7

Danny's mother has answers for all of his anxious pirate-related questions. While the storybook they read together offers Danny tantalizing possibilities%E2%80%94"Mom? What if I want to be a pirate and sail away on a pirate ship?"%E2%80%94threats and doubts loom, too. "What if I don't like it on the pirate ship? And I want to come back home?" But Mom deals skillfully, Runaway Bunny%E2%80%93style, with Danny's fretting: "Then I will ask a nice, friendly dolphin to take me out to that pirate ship, and we will bring you home." Layers of color and heavily worked figures give Fortenberry's (Pippa at the Parade) digital art a thick, substantial feel. The pirates, her spreads emphasize, are cheery fellows who would never harm Danny. His mother imagines vanquishing evildoers with magic shrinking spray ("with mint"); afterwards, the tiny pirates cower by Mom's gigantic feet. The book reads like a conversation Bunting (Tweak Tweak) might once have had with one of her own children; it's a warmhearted portrait of an endlessly patient parent, ready to help her child work through his fears and desires. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (Aug.)