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Commander Toad and the Space Pirates Paperback – January 27, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 13 Yolen's writing in this book is rhythmic but confusing. Commander Toad is captain of Star Warts and Mr. Hop, a frog, is his co-pilot. They are on a long trip, ``a boring trip . . . They have played leapfrog and hopscotch and croak-kay.'' The puns are abun dant but seem to be included only for effect. In many cases they are awkward and will not make sense to a beginning- to-read audience. Pirates, led by Com mander Salamander, board the Star Warts. They make the crew play a dan gerous game, ``Hop the Plank.'' By the time children wade through the confus ing text, they won't care whether the crew escapes. Most of Degen's illustra tions are black-and-white drawings, while a few are rendered in three col ors. All seem harsh and uninviting. The characters as illustrated seem very neu tral. There is nothing endearing about any of the ``good'' characters, and the ``villains'' are just ugly and unattrac tive. With so many other beginning-to- read books available, libraries can well pass on this one. Consider instead the books by James Marshall, Else Min arik, Arnold Lobel, and others. Shar ron McElmeel, Cedar Rapids Commu nity Schools, Iowa
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jane Yolen is an author of children’s books, fantasy, and science fiction, including Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? She is also a poet, a teacher of writing and literature, and a reviewer of children’s literature. She has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century.

Jane Yolen’s books and stories have won the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, two Christopher Medals, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards, the Golden Kite Award, the Jewish Book Award, the World Fantasy Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Association of Jewish Libraries Award among many others.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 560L (What's this?)
  • Series: Commander Toad
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reissue edition (January 27, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0698114191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0698114197
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother. Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that "throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration--folk culture." Folklore is the "perfect second skin," writes Yolen. "From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world." Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts. All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding. Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille. With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: "I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
Jane Yolen's "Commander Toad" series is a charming science fiction spoof, and an excellent children's book. The detailed, zany illustrations by Bruce Degen are the perfect complement to the witty text and off-the-wall characters. The test of any children's book is its reception by actual children, and "Commander Toad and the Space Pirates" gets full marks there. It has been requested so many times by my 5- and 3- year-old siblings that I can now recite it from memory. The text stands the test of many repetitions, and my five year old brother, just now learning to write, can often be heard to request "Mom, how do you spell 'Commander Toad'? How do you spell 'Space Pirates?'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer VINE VOICE on October 1, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Boredom settles over the crew of the space ship STAR WARTS and Commander Toad has to do something quick. Lieutenant Lily, Mr. Hop, Jake Skyjumper and Doc Peepers are all unhappy. They've watched all the ship's movies-SPLASH GORDON, THE TOAD WARRIOR, INDIANA FROG AND THE LILY PAD OF DOOM-and read all the ship's books-ROBIN TOAD, THE LIZARD OF OZ, and SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN WARTS-and played a lot of croak-kay, leapfrog, and hopscotch. There is nothing to do and they're all going a little crazy. That all changes the day Commander Salamander and his pirate crew arrive. Commander Salamander boards STAR WARTS and takes everyone captive except for Doc Peepers. Only a little while after that, Commander Salamander makes Commander Toad Hop the Plank at sword point! Only Doc Peepers can save the day!
Jane Yolen is an award-winning children's book author as well as a writer of adult science fiction and fantasy. She's earned the Caldecott-given for the most distinguished picture book, the Nebula-given to the most distinguished writing in the field of science fiction and fantasy, the Golden Kite-given by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and the World Fantasy Award. She's written seven Commander Toad Adventures, including COMMANDER TOAD AND THE LONG VOYAGE HOME, COMMANDER TOAD AND THE PLANET OF THE GRAPES, COMMANDER TOAD AND THE SPACE PIRATES, and COMMANDER TOAD AND THE BIG BLACK HOLE. With dozens of books written in many genres, Jane Yolen is a great author to introduce to young readers.
Fun to read out loud and filled with puns and sight gags really well drawn by Bruce Degen, COMMANDER TOAD AND THE SPACE PIRATES is a blast to share with young or reluctant readers. The sentences are short and choppy, driving the story on and filling the events with laughs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on October 9, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Boredom settles over the crew of the space ship STAR WARTS and Commander Toad has to do something quick. Lieutenant Lily, Mr. Hop, Jake Skyjumper and Doc Peepers are all unhappy. They've watched all the ship's movies-SPLASH GORDON, THE TOAD WARRIOR, INDIANA FROG AND THE LILY PAD OF DOOM-and read all the ship's books-ROBIN TOAD, THE LIZARD OF OZ, and SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN WARTS-and played a lot of croak-kay, leapfrog, and hopscotch. There is nothing to do and they're all going a little crazy. That all changes the day Commander Salamander and his pirate crew arrive. Commander Salamander boards STAR WARTS and takes everyone captive except for Doc Peepers. Only a little while after that, Commander Salamander makes Commander Toad Hop the Plank at sword point! Only Doc Peepers can save the day!
Jane Yolen is an award-winning children's book author as well as a writer of adult science fiction and fantasy. She's earned the Caldecott-given for the most distinguished picture book, the Nebula-given to the most distinguished writing in the field of science fiction and fantasy, the Golden Kite-given by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and the World Fantasy Award. She's written seven Commander Toad Adventures, including COMMANDER TOAD AND THE LONG VOYAGE HOME, COMMANDER TOAD AND THE PLANET OF THE GRAPES, COMMANDER TOAD AND THE SPACE PIRATES, and COMMANDER TOAD AND THE BIG BLACK HOLE. With dozens of books written in many genres, Jane Yolen is a great author to introduce to young readers.
Fun to read out loud and filled with puns and sight gags really well drawn by Bruce Degen, COMMANDER TOAD AND THE SPACE PIRATES is a blast to share with young or reluctant readers. The sentences are short and choppy, driving the story on and filling the events with laughs.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Valerie A. Miller on November 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Finding other stories that interest my son besides "star wars," "captain underpants," and anything about cars is somewhat difficult. He loves the Commander Toad stories (and I appreciate the extra references that my son doesn't always understand). Truthfully I wish they had more of these at the library, as we go through them so quickly...but if I have to get through amazon, that's what I'll do...
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By B. A. Tamadon on February 2, 2012
Format: School & Library Binding Verified Purchase
My son is 4 years old and loves the Commander Toad Books. He is not able to read these, yet, but I am sure these books will one day be one of his top choices for reading. He loves to hear about Star Wars, as he is far too young to watch anything Star Wars, and these books have a little Star Wars twist... The ship is called Star "Warts" and it goes into deep "hopper" space (after all they are all frogs and toads). There is Commander Toad, Lt. Lily (the only girl- who by the way is very skillful and brave), Young Jake Skyjumper, Mr. Hop and Old Doc Peeper. What could be better than Star Wars and Space Pirates- it even brings me a few giggles reading it to my son... The book ends very nicely- no violence- as it turns out commander Toad and the pirates are actually old friends!
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