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Children's LiteratureThe bad, bad Buccaneer Bunnies strike fear wherever they sail on the Salty Carrot. Still, despite the repeated orders of his father, Captain Barnacle Black Ear, "the baddest bunny brute of all time," young Henry prefers to read. Taunted by the other rabbit pirates, lonely Henry is reduced to swabbing the deck when not reading his favorites, like Rabbitson Crusoe. Sure that a storm is coming but ignored by the others, Henry packs his books in crates. When the storm sinks the ship, the boxes float the crew safely to a nearby island. There Henry uses the knowledge from his books to build a hut, cook stew, and outfit them all. When he finally helps them build a new ship, they use it not to go pirating again, but to sail to a nearby library. Books have saved the day and finally won their respect. Manders uses watercolor, gouache, and pencil for his free-swinging illustrations. His double-page scenes are loaded with comic characters, caricatures of "rabbity" swabs doing pirate-y things like sharpening a hook or polishing their gold. And through it all, bespectacled Henry reads his books, and learns. The energy and vitality throughout add to the fun and the important message. 2005, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz