________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 9 . . . . December 22, 2006

cover

Pirate Power Play. (Looney Bay All Stars).

Helaine Becker. Illustrated by Sampar.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2006.
61 pp., pbk., $5.99.
ISBN 0-439-94619-0.
 
Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Subject Headings:
Hockey stories.
Pirates-Juvenile fiction.
 
Review by Laura Dodwell-Groves.
 
*** /4 

excerpt:  

“What are you laughing at?” snarled the one-eyed pirate.

“Nothing,” said Reese. Then he chuckled again.

“You find us funny, do you? Remember it’s you who’s in the brig.”  

“Well, if I were out there with you, I certainly wouldn’t be playing Go Fish,” snorted Reese.

“That’s a game for babies.” 

“Why you dirty, rotten, no-good…” 

“Tough guys, like us All-Stars,” said Reese, “leave card games to the land-lubbers. We play hockey. Now that’s a proper pirate game.”

“Oh yeah? How do you play then?” asked One-Eyed Elmer.

“You’ll have to let me out to show you.” 

The pirates whispered together for a moment. Then the one with a scar shaped like a hot dog bun said, “All right. We’ll let you out. We’re kind of tired of this game ourselves. But no funny business – or the captain will feed you to the fish!”

Reese heard the jangling of keys, and then the door to his cell swung open with a loud creak. He was out of the brig!

With Pirate Power Play, Helaine Becker has begun a fun and feisty chapter book series. Right winger Reese McSkittles has been kidnaped by pirates, and it takes some cunning and some good hockey to gain his freedom.  

internal art

     At first glance, I was worried this book would prove formulaic. Someone had said, ‘We want a chapter book to interest boys; therefore, we will write about hockey and pirates’. Regardless of where the idea came from, there was not much formulaic about Beckers’ sense of fun with characters and situations, nor about Sampar’s playful and delightful illustrations which add a wonderful sense of richness and detail to an amusing story.


The main characters’ ingenuity and the ensuing battle make a vastly enjoyable book in what is often a sadly neglected genre. Becker’s chapter book is refreshing. More is welcome.
 

Recommended.
 

Laura Dodwell-Groves is a Master of Children’s Literature student at the University of British Columbia. 

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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