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The Night Pirates


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About the Author

Peter Harris was born in London in 1933. He has written for television, radio and children's comics. His picture books include Have You Seen Max? and Bottomley the Brave. Deborah Allwright has made a dramatic impact on the picture book scene since the publication of The Night Pirates. Her other wonderful books include Hooray for Knickers and The Witch with an Itch.


It's one laugh after another in this razzle-dazzle bedtime tale from the team behind Perfect Prudence. A mob of indomitable pirates-"rough, tough little girl pirates" whom Allwright depicts with enormous hats twice as big as they are-snatch the front of Tom's house in a daring nighttime raid (yes-the whole fa?ade). Tom then asks them to accept him as a shipmate. "And did the girl captain say, `Certainly not! You're only a boy!' Oh, no, not at all! Instead she roared, `Welcome aboard!' " Cleverly disguising their ship with the front of Tom's house, the girl pirates and their new matey ambush a gang of grown-up pirates asleep on a desert island. "I've seen a house!" the stumpy pirate captain gasps. "We've all seen houses," the dozing pirates reply. "Who cares?" Allwright joins the rollicking fun with her full-bleed spreads, spooling out the treasure theme with footstep paths through the drawings, and applying old map and graph cutouts as collage elements. The grown-up pirates don't stand a chance, of course. Snatching the pirates' treasure chest, the diminutive pirate clan sails off with it. "Captain Patch stamped his feet and shouted his worst pirate curse, `If you don't give me back my treasure, I'll tell my mommy!' " Satisfying repetition ("Down down down the dark dark street they came") and gentle parodies of the usual stereotypes will make this a read-aloud favorite. Ages 3-7. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

PreS-Gr 2-A group of rough, tough girl pirates sneaks over to Tom's house to steal the front of his house to disguise their ship. When Tom hears them, he asks to join them, and they agree. Then it's off to steal a treasure that belongs to adult pirates, and they are so befuddled by the ship's house front that they give it up easily. This leads to victory and a good night's sleep for Tom. Harris's soothing text has a storyteller's rhythm built in. The rhyming couplets are interspersed with questions that lead to the next section of the tale, clarifying and expanding it. The text is written in a rolling font that adds to the movement of the pirate ship. Allwright's illustrations are moody and midnight-colored with some collages added in. Their texture, made of maps and graph paper among other items, adds to the mystery of the adventures. The story's touch of the ridiculous will appeal to young listeners, especially surrounding the adult pirates. This tale would be terrific at a pajama storytime, and its pirate theme will satisfy many young girls and boys.-Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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