Monday, April 1, 2013

Pirates vs. Cowboys

Booklist (March 1, 2013 (Vol. 109, No. 13))

Preschool-Grade 2. Linguistic jargon gets plenty of play as the titular pirates and cowboys face off in this fanciful picture book that embraces the popular premise of mixing up oddball characters (think Jon Scieszka’s Cowboy and Octopus, 2007, and Patricia Storms’ The Pirate and the Penguin, 2009). A sea-creature-staffed pirate crew discovers they need a new place to bury treasure, having used up their seaside real estate. They lumber inland all the way to Cheyenne. Alas, the western town is run by a passel of outlaw cowboys (farm animals, mostly), and trouble begins when neither group understands the other. “Me hearties” armed with cutlasses and looking for “fair scrub and a swish” are countered by rootin’-tootin’ gunslingers who demand the pirates “head for the hills.” Only Pegleg Highnoon, “the world’s only pirate cowboy,” can avert the danger. Barneda’s beady-eyed acrylics are rendered in the dusty tones of the plains, while generous white space places emphasis upon the text. A goofy, quirky story with a useful and unusual vocabulary-building twist. Yee-haw!

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