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Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425


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Books for Young Pirates

Henry & the Buccaneer Bunnies                Henry & the Crazed Chicken Pirates

Cover Art: Henry & the Buccaneer Bunnies
Henry & the Buccaneer Bunnies
by Carolyn Crimi
Illustrated by John Manders
Candlewick Press, 2005, ISBN 076362449-7, $15.95 US/ $22.99 CAN

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Even pirates fear the rowdy Buccaneer Bunnies aboard the Salty Carrot. Captain Barnacle Black Ear, “the baddest bunny brute of all time,” leads a scurvy crew that includes a female pirate, Jean LeHare, and Calico Jack Rabbit. One rabbit, though, refuses to be a pirate--Black Ear’s son, Henry. Rather than shivering timbers, ordering prisoners to walk the plank, or toting the requisite parrot on his shoulder, Henry likes to read the books stolen from captured ships. As punishment for refusing to heed his father, Henry must swab the decks until “ye come to yer senses!”

One day, he spies a red sky.  Parrots squawk and fish jump out of the water. Henry knows exactly what this means from his reading--a vicious storm heads their way. He tries to warn the others, but they ignore him. When even the rats abandon ship, Henry stows his precious books in the empty treasure chests. The storm destroys the Salty Carrot, but all is not lost because Henry’s reading comes in handy when the pirates are marooned on a deserted island.

Henry & the Buccaneer Bunnies is an enchanting pirate adventure. The story itself is entertaining and filled with opportunities for young children to learn about pirates, nautical language, and the treasures to be found within the pages of books. Perfect for reading aloud, it will quickly become a favorite of young and old alike. The illustrations are a treasure in themselves. Look closely for tidbits that make the Buccaneer Bunnies pirates, such as the Jolly Roger with long floppy ears or the firecrackers tied to the captain’s ears. Be warned! They will make you roar with laughter. A superb treasure trove of piratical escapades!

Sample Page from Henry &
            the Buccaneer Bunnies

Meet Carolyn Crimi
Meet John Manders
Read an Interview with Carolyn Crimi and John Manders


Book Review Copyright ©2005 Cindy Vallar

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Cover Art: Henry
              & the Crazed Chicken Pirates
Henry & the Crazed Chicken Pirates
By Carolyn Crimi
Illustrated by John Manders
Candlewick Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-7636-3601-2, US $15.99 / CAN $19.00

StarStarStarStarStar

Henry, his father Barnacle Black Ear, and the Buccaneer Bunnies return in a new adventure. Life is a paradise until the day Henry discovers a message in a bottle. It warns that “yer worst enemies” plan to steal the Buccaneer Bunnies’ treasure, but the only one worried about the threat is Henry. He spends days writing a book, Henry’s Plan for Impending Danger from the Unknown Enemy Who Wrote the Scary Note. Black Ear, Calico Jack Rabbit, and Jean LeHare scoff at the idea and tell Henry to stop writing, but he’s determined not to be caught with his ears down.

One day, while scouting the other side of the island, Henry spots a strange sight – a hot-air balloon shaped like a ship with a figurehead of a rooster and crewed by chicken pirates. When he announces this frightful news, the other bunnies don’t believe him. More determined than ever, Henry starts testing and retesting all the ideas he’s put into his book. Before long, he hears funny noises coming from his ship. The crazed chicken pirates have arrived and tied up all the bunnies. It’s up to Henry to rescue his dad and their friends, but how?

This picture book is great for reading aloud to young pirates, and the presentation of the text invites readers and listeners alike to yell and whisper and speak in various voices. Crimi continues to show that brains and reading are important for any pirate in training, even when others ridicule them. Manders’ expressive artwork is filled with color and details that bring the characters to life. Young pirates will cheer on Henry, laugh at his shipmates and their airs, and delight in this adventure where intelligence outwits brawn.

 Inside Spread:
                Henry & the Crazed Chicken Pirates

Meet Carolyn Crimi
Meet John Manders


Book Review Copyright ©2009 Cindy Vallar

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