It is a sad and sorry day when Burnt Beard the Pirate and his scurvy crew swagger into Old Cheyenne looking to bury their treasure. Black Bob McKraw—terror of the Wild West—and his posse don't take too kindly to pirates invading their town. And to add insult to injury, the pirates and cowboys can't understand a lick of what the others are saying. None of them cowboys speak Pirate, and none of them pirates speak Cowboy. Who will save the day before these sorry—and stinky!—bilge rats and yellow-bellied varmints ...
It is a sad and sorry day when Burnt Beard the Pirate and his scurvy crew swagger into Old Cheyenne looking to bury their treasure. Black Bob McKraw—terror of the Wild West—and his posse don't take too kindly to pirates invading their town. And to add insult to injury, the pirates and cowboys can't understand a lick of what the others are saying. None of them cowboys speak Pirate, and none of them pirates speak Cowboy. Who will save the day before these sorry—and stinky!—bilge rats and yellow-bellied varmints draw their cutlasses and six-shooters?
From the creator of the hilarious Creepy Carrots, comes the story of a simple misunderstanding that almost meant the end of Old Cheyenne.
The collaborators behind Snowbots return with a tale that gleefully pokes fun at pirate and cowboy vernacular while demonstrating how difficult it can be to find common ground. When Burnt Beard, a surly octopus pirate, needs to stash some booty, he and his crew (which includes a turtle with an eye patch and a goldfish in a bowl) head to Old Cheyenne, territory belonging to Black Bob McKraw and “his gang of rip-roarin’ rustlers were nastier than week-old chili, and twice as gassy.” Burnt Beard asks where they might “be findin’ a fair scrub and a swish,” and Black Bob, who doesn’t speak pirate, takes offense. After several silly trash-talking exchanges, “Pistols pointed. Swords flashed. Lips sneered. Nostrils flared” in a showdown; luckily, Pegleg Highnoon, “the world’s only pirate cowboy,” steps in as mediator. Reynolds’s tongue-twisting retorts are fun, but sometimes slow the story’s pace (and the absence of even one female character is surprising). However, Barneda’s cartoon-styled acrylic and pencil illustrations contribute abundant humor (one of the cowboys is a fierce potted cactus) and tension. Ages 5–8. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Mar.)
- Remy Dou
A high-noon showdown threatens to turn the town of Old Cheyenne into Swiss cheese. None of this would have happened had Burnt Beard the Pirate found adequate space near the sea to bury his gang's treasure. Black Bob McKraw, a rootin' tootin' cowboy, does not appreciate the presence of the swashbuckling pirates. What is worse, the more the two groups talk to one another, the less they understand! It seems "pirate" and "cowboy" languages differ greatly, and this leads to a confrontation. Reynolds skillfully uses language to weave humor throughout. When combined with Barneda's hilarious illustrations, readers will laugh out loud every time they turn a page. But the text can be difficult to read, even for an adult familiar with pirate movies and old westerns. This is not a story for early readers or very young children. Guns, swords, frothy grog, and the lack of a clearly female character narrows down Reynolds' target audience further. Despite the use of animals to represent characters, such as a mean looking pirate-shark, parents may feel uncomfortable with the number of illustrations where characters point guns and swords at one another. Fortunately, a peaceable ending results thanks to Pegleg Highnoon—half-pirate, half-cowboy—who tells the rowdy bunch that what they all really need is a bath, ?cause they stink. In the midst of this violent tale hides a message about resolving conflict by understanding others' differences. Reviewer: Remy Dou
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—This tale of swashbucklers looking for a place to store their booty while a band of sharpshooters attempts to defend their one-horse town is really about a little miscommunication and the need for a nice hot bath. Unfortunately for Burnt Beard the octopus pirate and Black Bob the bull cowboy, they can't understand each other's colorful language. The author cleverly convinces the audience to sympathize with both sides, as it is unlikely that many children will be able to understand either the pirate idioms or the cowboy slang. When the misunderstandings result in a showdown, a croc named Pegleg Highnoon arrives to save the day. Being fluent in both pirate and cowboy comes in handy for diffusing the situation, but Pegleg's mediation efforts are trumped by the stench of both parties. After seeing that their smelliness is something they have in common, they reconvene after bathing for some grog at the local saloon. Readers will enjoy the comical illustrations and amusing resolution if they can get past the complicated vocabulary and suspend their disbelief about an octopus trying to hide his treasure in the desert.—Jenna Boles, Washington-Centerville Public Library, OH
Argot issues nearly spark a brawl in this addition to the trendy "head-to-head mashup" genre. These antagonists confront one another not on the base paths as in Mark Summers and Aaron Frisch's Pirates at the Plate (2012) but on the dusty streets of Old Cheyenne. They square off after noxious Capt. Burnt Beard's uncharacteristically civil "Be ye knowin' where we'd be findin' a fair scrub and a swish?" is greeted with an uncomprehending sneer by Black Bob McKraw and his band of rustlers--themselves "nastier than week-old chili, and twice as gassy." It seems pirates don't speak cowboy, and cowboys don't speak pirate. Happily, the opportune arrival of Pegleg Highnoon, "the world's only pirate cowboy," literally clears the air as he insults both gangs in their respective jargons. Having found common ground ("Yes, it was their stench. But it was a start"), all head amicably for the town's only bathhouse and saloon. Using muddy colors to provide an unwashed look, Barneda pits a scurvy crew of sea creatures led by an octopus against a posse of prairie critters headed up by a scowling bull. All are dressed in occupation-appropriate duds, including Highnoon (a generic-looking reptile presumably intended to be a marine iguana), who sports a mix of iconic gear from peg leg to Stetson. A refreshingly atypical exercise in waging peace, despite the tired "X vs. Y" scenario. (Picture book. 6-8)
AARON REYNOLDS is the author of many hilarious and critically acclaimed books for children, including Creepy Carrots,Snowbots, Buffalo Wings, Chicks and Salsa, and the Joey Fly Private Eye books. He lives near Chicago with his wife and two children.
DAVID BARNEDA is a graduate of Art Center College of Design and Bucknell University. His fun, whimsical illustrations have been used in children's books, advertising, magazines, and even the side of a bus. He lives in sunny California.