From Publishers Weekly
Kimmel (Gershon's Monster) gleefully plunders Sherwood Forest, Peter Pan, Dr. Dolittle and pirate lore for this hybrid tale of a stout-hearted lad bent on ending piracy. Adopted as an infant by Captain James Hook, Robin develops some decidedly anti-swashbuckling traits as he grows older. "He hated making people walk the plank. He never enjoyed sinking ships. And he was kind to people and animals." Fed up, Captain Hook maroons him on an island, where Robin learns the language of animals and forms a ragtag crew of abandoned children. Their mission: to rid the seven seas of all pirates (they put itching powder in Blackbeard's beard, for instance, and erase the X on Captain Flint's treasure map). Despite some holes in the plot large enough to sail a galleon through (such as where the other children on Robin's supposedly deserted island came from and why the pirates willingly release their prisoners from a sinking ship), the story cruises along, buoyed up by Dooling's (The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin) robust oil-on-canvas paintings. Some of the action sequences, like the narrative, seem more sketched than fully rendered, veiled as they are in fog and sea spray. But Dooling's portraits of the pirates capture their colorful personalities. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 4-While this curious blend of Peter Pan and Robin Hood will require even more suspension of disbelief than its antecedents, wanna-be swashbucklers and rogues are sure to revel in the plot and pictures. Captain Hook finds baby Robin in an octopus's arms and trains him in the ways of a pirate's life. Alas, Robin has his own code of ethics and is ultimately marooned on an island as punishment for releasing prisoners. There he takes leadership of other shipwrecked children. They undertake a "campaign to bring pirates everywhere to justice" and at the story's climax, join forces with squid, seagulls, hornets, and dolphins for a nonviolent confrontation to release prisoners from the clutches of Captain Thatch. The language is not particularly memorable, and the plot is an odd mixture of borrowed heritage and modern sensibility. (Children may wish the youngsters had been more involved in the action than the animals.) However, the dramatically lit double spreads, salty oil portraits, and the triumph of the child heroes (and one heroine) ensure program success. Pair this with Emily Arnold McCully's The Pirate Queen (Putnam, 1995) and Tom Lichtenheld's Everything I Know about Pirates (S & S, 2000) for an eye-opening perspective on a perennially popular subject.-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.