Pirate Stew

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. Dec. 2020. 48p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062934574.
Gr 1-2–Oh, the day you find out your babysitter is a pirate does not bode well. Blonde, blue-eyed mother and Black goatee-sporting father are going out, and Long John McRon, ship’s cook, arrives with all the tropes in place, from a peg leg and (literally) a left hook to a blue beard and a crutch. As jolly goes, he’s got plenty, as he coaxes his young charges, biracial siblings with black hair and light brown skin, to join him and the hordes he invites in, who resemble all the pirates in fiction, including Captain Hook from Neverland. The siblings feel doomed, and in Riddell’s raucous and crowded illustrations, readers will understand what the pair are up against. And for dinner? “Pirate Stew! Pirate Stew! Pirate Stew for me and you!” The hitch is that eating the stew turns one into a pirate, so the siblings opt for specially procured donuts. But when the mother and father come home, a bit peckish? These children are now the happy offspring of “Pirate Mom” and “Pirate Dad.” This is royal fun for all, in rhymes that have plenty of openings for chanting along.
VERDICT For noisy read-alouds and a punchline kids won’t soon forget, this is a picture book to hoist onto every shelf.

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