Over the Waves! Rufus Goes to Sea by Kim Griswell
RUFUS LEROY WILLIAMS LOVED GOING TO SCHOOL
But school is out for the summer. So Rufus turns to his other love--READING!
Rufus starts his summer reading with a book called Pirates, and suddenly he knows how he wants to spend his summer vacation! Rufus wants to be a pirate.
But first Rufus has to find a berth on a corsair's ship flying the skull and crossbones.
But when he approaches the first old sea dog he sees down at the dock, first mate Scratchwhiskers, he gets a cold reception. And the peg-legged captain can't see any purpose in signing on a pig as a pirate.
"NO PIGS ON PIRATE SHIPS!" BELLOWED CAPTAIN WIBBLYSHINS.
"PIGS PLAY ON POOP DECKS! THEY PICNIC FROM THE CROW'S NESTS.
AND THEY WIPE THEIR CHINS ON THE JOLLY ROGER!"
It seems that there's plenty of prejudice against pigs among pirates. But Rufus is a plucky and notably persistent pirate-wannabe pig, so he tries getting into the appropriate pirate gear, appearing in an eye patch, in a proper pirate's hat, and with a mop and bucket to swab the decks. Cap'n Wibblyshins is unimpressed, declaring the pirate he needs has to have special skills.
Rufus Leroy Williams reaches into his sea bag and haul out his book.
"I HAVE THIS!" HE SAID.
Suddenly the old Captain's beady eyes brighten.
"YOU CAN READ? WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SO!"
It's seems there's a paucity of literacy aboard Wibblyshin's ship, and Rufus Leroy Williams is named their Reading Pig and tasked with reading the crew all of their treasure maps. Anchors aweigh! It's time to hoist sail, to "Avast, all ye hardies!" and have some serious treasure-hunting on the bounding main. Rufus has his summer adventure, and with his map-reading, the buccaneers have a successful voyage with plenty of treasure trunks to dig up on the beach of their own Treasure Island.
X doesn't mark the spot for a booty of golden doubloons in Kim Griswell's latest, Rufus Goes to Sea (Sterling, 2015), but with the help of skillful visual foreshadowing by artist Valeri Gorbachev, young readers won't be totally surprised when the mariners discover something even better in their excavated treasure troves. Gorbachev, the best American illustrator with a Soviet dictator for a father, offers comic artwork which keeps the giggles coming, and Griswell's Rufus is just as plucky and endearing a pig as he was in his first outing, Rufus Goes to School. (See my 2013 review here.)
". . . a marvelous paean to the joy and power of reading," says School Library Journal.