From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—The dastardly Captain Purplebeard and his greedy crew are on the track of "…a shipload of treasure!...Diamonds and rubies and gold beyond measure…." They set sail in their ship, The Black Hole
, following a mysterious fiddle player (are those strings on his arms and legs?) who has a treasure map. Heedless of the subsequent verses of the fiddler's song, which warn of some sort of monster "pirate cruncher," the motley crew also disregards certain other strange happenings and perseveres to their ultimate end. Their fate is told mostly in rollicking but sometimes uneven rhymed text. The striking illustrations in bold colors are digitally rendered with great effect, delineating each individual pirate and slyly hinting at the surprise that's coming—visual clues that every self-respecting pirate lover will delight in pointing out knowledgeably after the first reading. An amusing book to savor and enjoy.—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
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Just when you think there couldn't possibly be space on the shelf for another pirate-related picture book, another comes around that reminds you pirates may well just be one of those inexhaustible mines. A loony old fiddler enchants a pirate crew with a tale of unimaginable treasure on an island far out to sea. The good ship Black Hole sets out with the fiddler aboard, whetting the crew's insatiable appetite for booty, then inflating their fears with warnings of a monster who “likes to eat pirates who come for the treasure, / and chews up their ships just for good measure.” Captain Purplebeard won't have any of it, and even if kids see the truth lurking beneath a final gatefold, it doesn't make the pirate-gobbling monster's splash appearance any less squeal worthy. Duddle's digital artwork has the cartoony physicality of high-tech animated art without the off-putting CGI sheen one might expect. The goony, googly-eyed buccaneers heaped onto each page and the chantey cadences of the text make this a certain winner for jaunty read-alouds. Preschool-Grade 2. --Ian Chipman