From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3-Roger, a "lousy pirate," is derisively given the nickname "Jolly Roger" by his shipmates. Although he tries to be a proper buccaneer, he is inevitably sent below deck whenever there is serious marauding to be done. When the Admiral attacks the ship, Roger is once again sent to the hold. In an attempt to win the favor of his crewmates, he bakes a cake in a cannon he mistakes for a pot. The explosive result-Roger flying above deck amid flour, smoke, and powder, looking exactly like a screaming skeleton-sends the Admiral's men leaping off their vessel convinced that the pirates have a ghost on their side. In recognition of his feat, his shipmates stitch up a flag that has gone down in history as the "Jolly Roger." This goofy pourquoi
tale is told with a rhythm and bounce that begs to be read aloud. Helquist uses cinematic perspectives and compositions in his watercolor, pencil, and pastel illustrations-extreme close-ups, split-screen glimpses, and sweeping full-bleed vistas are interspersed with views akin to peeping through a telescope. His success at capturing motion in many of the pictures adds to the movielike quality of the art. Pirate lovers and children who enjoy a good adventure will relish the climactic battle scene. A rousing and humorous tale.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI
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PreS-Gr. 2. For a pirate on the high seas, being "jolly" is an insult: "He smiled instead of scowling, and he grinned instead of growling." The other pirates don't want Jolly Roger around when there is serious fighting to be done, and they send him into the hold. Then comes the day Jolly bakes a cake for his mates with everything he can find, and the concoction explodes and shoots him back on deck covered in flour and soot. The terrified enemy abandons ship, and Jolly is a hero at last--even if he still can't "tell the starboard from the larboard, the windward from the leeward or the mizzen from the mast." With scenes of swords crossed in battle and wild slapstick action, the illustrator of the popular Lemony Snicket series puts comic disaster into a lively picture book that's just for children who will appreciate the sweet bumbling outsider who isn't bad enough to get respect. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved