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—Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2012, *STAR
* “From the smiling, rollicking kids on the cover laying claim to a beach full of treasure to the shipload of fierce, sneering, plundering, cutlass-waving, face-making buccaneers, boastful of their scurrilous behavior, these pirates are a motley group. In 19 poems, they teach “Pirate Patter” and punishment and describe some less-than-appetizing meals at sea; their penchant for stealing, burying, and sometimes losing track of treasure; and their weapons…. The up- and downsides of life on a pirate ship are evident in Neubecker’s bold, colorful, detail-filled cartoonlike illustrations, outlined in India ink. Kids, boys especially, will be charmed by these feisty poems.”
—School Library Journal, August 2012, *STAR
“Florian provides young pirate lovers with a profusion of arrrghs and ahoy mateys, enough to keep their piratephilia alive for a long time…. Sometimes the poems veer into the deliciously disgusting…. Neubecker’s digitally colored India-ink illustrations play well with the light verse. While some of the images feature close-ups of faces, many of a pirate (or just his bloodshot eyes on a black background) staring directly at the reader, there is nothing to be afraid of here, and the reader knows that these poems are balanced between light gore and outright silliness.”
—Horn Book Magazine, September/October 2012
Posted January 5, 2013
The Ruins are lots of toppled buildings, and the remains or skeletons of other skyscrapers that managed to stay standing. Debris blocks the road, towering above the head of any creature.
"Stay together." Hunt warns. "Gorge owns this land along with Nyx. If you see a loner, let me know. We may be able to recruit them."
"I thought you said we had too many members." Gunner argues.
"I did, but I'm not in charge. I'm still loyal to Nyx, even if I disagree with some of her ideas." Hunt's voice leaves no room for protest. We weave silently among the crumbled stone and concrete. After a while, we come to a fork in the rock maze.
"Rayn, Blade, go that way. Tiger, Gunner, with me." Hunt instructs. Rayn and I turn right, and begin padding away.
"Girls!" Hunt calls. We turn to face him. The brown tabby looks at each of us in turn. "If anything bad happens, screech as loud as you can."
I lash my tail. "We can take care of ourselves!"
"Don't argue." He replies, and leads the other toms away.
"Stupid, flea-infested, dung-brained tom!" I snarl, storming in the opposite direction. Rayn scampers after me.
"He only wants the best, you know. For everyone." Rayn mews.
"Not for me, or you, or Gunner or Tiger or Freddy or Minnie or Thrasher or Bone or Flick or Katroptis or Fox or Soren or Jaybird or Cheddar or Robin or—"
She interrupts me. "Like he said, there's tons of us."
"You agree with him!?"
"No. Well, yes, but not about everything. We do have a lot of members, but I think that's a good thing. I'm not smart enough to go so deep into thought and realize that living all over the city could make some of us traitorous, or want to be disloyal. I just do what I'm told, which I guess is what they want. I don't think beyond what they say like Hunt, or fight them like you. I shut up and listen."
"You're better then so many of us, Rayn. You don't hate or fight or lie or steal."
"But that's how a fighter SHOULD be. Bad. Hating, fighting, lying, and stealing."
I ponder this, eyes narrow at the truthful statement. "We should be able to love, too." I say softly.
"I know. Some of us can. We-"
A dark gray tom slinks from behind some debris, stopping us in our tracks. He looks between us, then gestures behind him with his tail. A gold shecat, a brown tabby tom, and a silver shecat pad out.
The group unsheathes their claws as one. We back up slowly. I curl my lip to reveal my fangs, and my claws slide out. I flatten my ears and raisee my hackles. Rayn shrinks back.
"Are you part of Gorge's group? We're Nyx's, and this is neutral ground." I meow.
"We aren't either. We're MY group. Skull's group." The gray tom growls. "And this is OUR land."
"No, it's not. Four cats can't take us. We're trained fighters, ready to kill. I killed five cats. Alone." I snarl. I've intimidated cats into running away before.
Doubt flickers on Skull's face. "What?"
"They didn't have a chance. And neither do you." I continue. "Unless, of course, you join us."
"Join you?" Skull asks.
"Of course. Nyx would welcome you four as full members." I meow persuasively.
"What about my kits?" The gold shecat mews.
"Yes, definitely! It's a kit-friendly environment." Rayn adds, nodding.
"Sunshine, I think it's okay. Right?" The silver shecat mews, looking at Skull with wide blue eyes.
Skull sighs. "I suppose, Lunia."
"Great. Come on, then." I offer.
Sunshine, the gold shecat, leads a fluffy gray shekit and a black-and-white tom after us.
I can't help but smirk. Hunt will be furious.