Inside Jolly Roger’s Pirate Ship, by Charles E. Reasoner

At first glance, this book is awesome. It is not only shaped like a pirate ship, but also the durable, thick cardboard pages are different shapes and sizes, revealing more of the ship as it progresses!

Good point numero dos: the pirates are mice. As will probably become apparent, I’m extremely partial to mice in literature, especially when they are acting as humans, but I’ll save that for literary essays.

Unfortunately, we can’t judge a book by its cover, or its creative layers. There is a lot going on here. There are mice pirates hiding in holes of the ship you can peek in on and stick your finger in! While there is about a stanza of text on a page, there are also more than a dozen mice all doing and saying different things as well in text boxes. The colorful pictures are busy with action.

If you have a child that needs stimulation to keep their interest and likes to use their hands, this book has so many things going on I kept missing some: octopuses, secret compartments, and side jokes.

On the other hand, if you have a child that is easily over stimulated, like mine, it might not be as big of a hit. At first she loved it, but then she couldn’t get the mice off the page -big disappointment- exact quote: “Waaaah!” Of course, this was before lunch.

The text is sometimes like a poem, but not exactly. The best line of this is a pun I won’t give away. Most of it talks about how fun it is to be a pirate while remaining pretty vague about what this gang of rodents does that keeps their pirate business afloat. And then we bring in the conflict-cats, if you did not see that coming. Really, the mice should have seen it coming since their ship is called the S.S. Catnip.

Wait-S.S.? As a pirate ship? What happened to the Jolly Roger in the title? Who even is this Jolly Roger fellow? What’s the deal with the gold? Why are they hiding it?

If you’re a fan of cats, you should be warned these pirate mice, cute though they may be, are not so nice to the feline race. They do not resolve their conflicts in a healthy manner, though there is no Itchy-Scratchy, Road Runner-Coyote bloodshed.

This book is cool to play with and look at, but the words and story aren’t as good. There aren’t any characters to speak of, and there is not a big lesson if you’re looking for that.

Evy was more interested in the mud. For her, though, mud is one of the most fascinating things on the planet, so take that with a grain of sand. That’s exactly how she likes to take mud.

This book is a great thing to toss to a kid that needs entertaining, maybe a pair of kids. It’s durable, bright, detailed, and slightly interactive. It contains just about every pirate saying I can think of and is a ship, so if you’re very into pirates, then AHOY!  It’s not a book for easily overly stimulated people, or literature majors, or passionate cat enthusiasts, or possibly historians.

Decent beach read, according to the mermaid and mom.

-Evy And Me.




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