The Pirate's Bed

illus. by Matt James. 32p. Tundra. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781770496163.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 2—A pirate snoozes through a great storm while his frightened bed is buffeted about. The storm pitches the sleeping pirate and his crew overboard then to an island where they live "in peace for the rest of their days, eating sweet fruit and teaching parrots to talk." Meanwhile, the pirate's bed drifts away from the island, free from stinky feet and loud snores. Ocean life is filled with wonders. "When the dolphins sliced the air with their silver, sickle-shaped bodies, the bed thought it had never seen such a beautiful sight." In time, the bed misses the weight of a sleeper. It drifts to shore where a carpenter finds and restores it. After it's been waiting in a shop, a young mother brings the bed home for her little boy, and years later he passes it to his. "As time went on, the bed was passed from family to family. And whoever slept in that square-framed, solid and sensible bed felt the rock of the ocean on dry land. It might be that the bed was passed down to you!" The illustrations are as rich and wonderful as the language and story. They are rendered in acrylic paint and India ink on board. James uses layering, scratching, and solid dark outlines to pack emotion into the images. The art gives the impression of having been painted by a child, but the textures show a formidable talent.
VERDICT This is a treasure of a book.

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