The High Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate

The High Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate

3.9 13
by Scott Nash
     
 

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Hoist the Jolly Robin! Fly with a swashbuckling crew as they soar through the air — and evade danger on the ground — in search of treasure and lofty adventure.

Captain Blue Jay, notorious and feared pirate of the skies, has a fondness for collecting treasure, especially eggs. Unfortunately, sometimes his treasure hatches, and this time the

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Overview

Hoist the Jolly Robin! Fly with a swashbuckling crew as they soar through the air — and evade danger on the ground — in search of treasure and lofty adventure.

Captain Blue Jay, notorious and feared pirate of the skies, has a fondness for collecting treasure, especially eggs. Unfortunately, sometimes his treasure hatches, and this time the hatchling is the strangest one the Grosbeak has ever seen. No sailor is certain whether the chick is a young god or just an oversized bird who needs too much food, but one thing is clear: the winds over Thrushland are shifting, and dramatic changes are in store for all. Whether outwitting a gang of thieving crows, outrunning murderous fishers and weasels, or rallying Briarloch’s beleaguered sparrows, this motley crew must do all they can to stay together and stay alive. And that’s just the tip of the bird’s feather! Offering a bounty of illustrations and a host of memorable characters — from an endearing star-nosed mole to an unlikely little warrior with a vendetta — here is a treasure for anyone who has ever wanted to take to the skies and see where fortune blows.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Picture book creator Nash (The Cat in the Rhinestone Suit) offers a charming illustrated novel set in a world filled with anthropomorphic avian pirates. Blue Jay, the notorious captain of the airship Grosbeak, has been collecting eggs for years as he robs from the evil oligarchs in Thrushia. He rarely lets them hatch (and is happy to perpetuate the myth that he cannibalistically consumes them), but when his navigator, Junco, is compelled to nurse one particular egg, the entire crew has to care for Gabriel, a rare gosling. Their adventures take them into contact with everything from dangerous fisher cats and a dirt-loving mole on the ground to bats and crows in the air. Nash creates a wholly original and fully realized world in its own right, though it's hard to avoid comparisons to previous anthropomorphic animal tales; as with Redwall, scenes of violence and death intermix with the whimsy of the concept. That neither element overwhelms the other is a testament to Nash's aptitude, and readers should long remember the novel's endearing characters, which appear throughout in his gracefully integrated full color pen-and-ink art. Ages 9–13. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
Renowned illustrator Scott Nash’s first novel features a tale of animals that succeeds in being both an original and a page-turner. The main characters are well developed, and the world in which they dwell is fantasy as its best. Nash vividly illustrates many of the characters and the action, which adds to the quality of the book. Fans of Brian Jacques’ Redwall series will love this story.
—VOYA

Referencing Robert Louis Stevenson and hearkening back to classic animal adventures of yore, this has the tone and style to appeal to thoughtful young readers; a coming-of-age element to gratify older ones; and drama, battles, and triumphs to entice the rest.
—Booklist

A beautifully illustrated novel for readers ages 9 to 12 who relish scenes of stealth and swashbuckling.
—Wall Street Journal

VOYA - Etienne Vallee
Blue Jay the Pirate and his crew of misfit birds sail the skies under the banner of the Jolly Robin, attacking fat merchant ships carrying seeds. When Junco, the navigator of the Grosbeak intentionally hatches the captain's prized treasure egg, the ship gains one more crew member. Gabriel the gosling grows quickly and soon is as big as the ship itself. The crew does not quite know what to do with someone who eats twice as much as the rest of them. During a storm, the Grosbeak crashes in Teach the crow's territory, Blue Jay's evil cousin. They barely escape alive, but only after clipping their wings. With the help of local sparrows, Blue Jay and his crew must rescue their boat and save the sparrows from the twin threats of the crows next door and the Thrushian colonial authorities. Will this be Gabriel's chance to show his usefulness and earn his keep, or will he fly south with the other geese? Renowned illustrator Scott Nash's first novel features a tale of animals that succeeds in being both an original and a page-turner. The main characters are well developed, and the world in which they dwell is fantasy as its best. Nash vividly illustrates many of the characters and the action, which adds to the quality of the book. Fans of Brian Jacques' Redwall series will love this story. Reviewer: Etienne Vallee
Kirkus Reviews
A corvid catastrophe threatens swashbuckling Blue Jay and his mixed avian crew after a treetop shipwreck leaves them to the tender mercies of a murder of crows. Reputed to be "generally the most bloodthirsty and fearsome pirate to sail the high skies" (but not really that bad), Blue Jay flies the Jolly Robin from his ship the Grosbeak. Aside, however, from occasional harmless plundering, he much prefers sailing grandly through the clouds. Still, after falling into the clutches of his more viciously piratical cousin Teach and getting their flight feathers clipped, he and his scrappy crew--particularly Gabriel, a recent hatchling who grows in the tale from an oversized and ungainly bumbler into a magnificent Branta goose--must act. They rise to defeat the crows in a pair of savage battles with help from flocks of sparrows and an intrepid mole. In his debut as a novelist, Nash's dialogue comes off as stilted ("This evening… I managed to successfully facilitate a visit between our unwitting weasels and a she wolf," reports the mole), and his efforts to inject mystical notes with repeated references to geese as gods or godlings seem labored. Otherwise, he crafts a merry romp that is much enhanced by frequent formally drawn ink-and-color scenes of an airborne galleon and full-body portraits of birds posing in 17th-century costume. An imaginative premise, fledged in showy if sometimes overdecorated finery. (Fantasy. 10-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763632649
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
09/25/2012
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
722,452
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 7.92(h) x 1.23(d)
Lexile:
870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Renowned illustrator Scott Nash’s first novel features a tale of animals that succeeds in being both an original and a page-turner. The main characters are well developed, and the world in which they dwell is fantasy as its best. Nash vividly illustrates many of the characters and the action, which adds to the quality of the book. Fans of Brian Jacques’ Redwall series will love this story.
—VOYA

Referencing Robert Louis Stevenson and hearkening back to classic animal adventures of yore, this has the tone and style to appeal to thoughtful young readers; a coming-of-age element to gratify older ones; and drama, battles, and triumphs to entice the rest.
—Booklist

A beautifully illustrated novel for readers ages 9 to 12 who relish scenes of stealth and swashbuckling.
—Wall Street Journal

Meet the Author

Scott Nash has illustrated more than forty children’s books, and now, inspired by his childhood readings of such classics as Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe, his lifelong love of bird-watching, and an urge to take on a new challenge, he has created his most ambitious project to date, his first novel and his first foray into an entirely new and technically precise style of artwork. Scott Nash lives in Peaks Island, Maine.

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