Colin McNaughton is an award-winning author, illustrator and renowned poet. His titles for Walker Books include "Have You Seen Who's Just Moved in Next Door to Us?" (Winner of the Kurt Maschler Award), "Captain Abdul's Pirate School" and many poetry collections. Colin is married with two sons and lives in London.
Gr 2-4-- A potentially delightful story line falters amid the burdensome text, the intermittent stream of consciousness by the narrator, and the sneering portrayal of a shrewish mother deserving of chastisement from males. A miserable boy, Jolly Roger, yearns to run away from his mean, sour mother and join the pirates. Surprisingly, he gets press-ganged (pirate talk for kidnapped) and finds himself exactly where he wants to be--among the rough, bristly, pirate band of Abdul the Skinhead. Watercolor and pen-and-ink paintings of the pirate personalities abound. They are appropriately gruesome, hideously frightening, and amusingly appealing. However, the excessive pirate lingo conversations border on the incomprehensible. Throughout the adventure, the omnipresent narrator regales readers with his observations. An example of this sophomoric intervention is his sexist comment that if you can't guess what the figurehead on the Golden Behind ship is, he won't tell you because ``it's far too rude.'' The story continues with Mom capturing and retraining the pirates while Jolly Roger is trying to rescue them from her. During this derring-do, Mom accidently drops a bucket on an amnesiac pirate. This knock to the head causes him to regain his memory and recognize his now-happy wife and son. The two males then follow Mom's orders. --Ellen Dibner, East School, Long Beach, N.Y.
An energetic romp of a story... plenty of jokes." The Sunday Times, Books of the Year"