A-Sailin' We Must Go! Captain Jack and the Pirates by Peter Bently
JACK, ZACK, AND CASPAR, BRAVE MARINERS THREE,
WERE BUILDING A GALLEON DOWN BY THE SEA.
Three aspiring privateers shape their pirate ship from the malleable sand on the beach, Properly accoutered with sand pails inserted on their ship's sides as cannons and an old shirt for a sail, the three young seadogs are poised to set sail for some proper adventures on the bounding main.
AND THERE STOOD THE GALLEON, FIT FOR THE FRAY.
AS BRAVE CAPTAIN JACK ORDERED "ANCHORS AWEIGH!"
"AHOY! MAN" CRIED JACK, WITH A CHORTLE OF PLEASURE.
"AN ENEMY PIRATE SHIP, LOADED WITH TREASURE!"
The bold buccaneers storm ashore to take their treasure--a selection of tea-time pastries--put out by their foes (actually their parents), and the young pirates end their voyage with their booty, topped off by some cooling ice cream cones, consumed as they dangle their feet in the briny deep from the dock.
It's a salute to the magical imagination of early childhood fantasy in that wonderful way that youngsters are able to construct a whole, shared alternative universe for their play, in noted author Peter Bently's recently published Captain Jack and the Pirates (Dial Books, 2016), which has the look of a classic nursery tale, aided by the peerless illustrations of Helen Oxenbury. Oxenbury's soft line drawings and watercolor illustrations have the essence of such classics as Beatrice Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Ernest H. Shepard's illustrations in The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh, and Oxenbury's own work in her well-known We're Going on a Bear Hunt (Classic Board Books). Shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Prize, Britain's parallel to the Caldecott Award, this perfect picture book is not to be missed. As Publishers Weekly suitably sums it up, "Bently's verse never misses a beat, and Oxenbury shifts between monochromatic, engraving-like drawings and pale watercolors; the images feel as if they were drawn from a classic fairy tale book and contemporary life simultaneously."