The Word Pirates

Neal Porter Bks/Holiday House/. Sept. 2019. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823443598.
K-Gr 2–With a roar, Captain Rottingbones demands words! Pirates love eating words after all. So out go the Bumblebirds to retrieve the written delights of storytellers worldwide. To storytellers and story lovers though, this is an atrocious act. The Word Wizard and the children she was reading to give chase. Just as the ogre-like pirates begin to attack, a story stream sprouts from the author’s absurdly large pen. Awed, the pirates have an epiphany. Cooper’s words are deliciously funny, and have several important messages to share about the value of stories. Like the pirates, there are greedy people who wish to destroy them, though the children know them as the influential, magical things they are. Even the pirates turn over a new leaf once they realize this, learning to read and write in order to enjoy the benefits, too. Kellogg’s comical style perfectly complement’s Cooper’s flair. With the storyteller tone, lush palette, and oddball characters, they have created a whimsical adventure where a Word Wizard, and the children, are the heroes.
VERDICT Two prominent creators of children’s literature have combined their powers to deliver a memorably funny tale about the value of stories. For its potential to create future readers, this book is invaluable.

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