Are You the Pirate Captain?

(Author) (Illustrator)
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Product Details

Andersen Press
Publish Date
11.1 X 9.5 X 0.5 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

Gareth P. Jones lives in London, where he writes books, produces TV, and spends time with his wife and son, Herbie.
Garry Parsons is the award-winning illustrator of many books, including George's Secret Key to the Universe, George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt, George and the Big Bang, George and the Unbreakable Code, and George and the Blue Moon by Lucy and Stephen Hawking; Billy's Bucket by Kes Gray; and What's Cool About School by Kate Agnew. He lives in London. Visit him at


"Arrrgh! A job opening on a jolly pirate ship turns out to be unexpectedly hard to fill. First Mate Hugh--a ragged, sandy-haired Everylad in Parsons' cartoon scenes--announces in rhyme to the crew that the docked pirate ship's 'mopped and swabbed and scrubbed' and ready to set sail. But who'll be captain? Alas, one flamboyantly dressed passer-by's hook is just a clothes hanger, another with what looks like a torn treasure map is only holding a shopping list, the parrot hoisted by a third dandy is but an umbrella handle, and a fourth's 'glistening silver blade, / two gold teeth and underneath, / a beard tied in a braid!' turns out to be a party costume. But when this last gent sapiently suggests 'You'll need one who / will lead your crew / and not just look the part' and asks who it was who actually organized the ship's latest spiffing-up, all eyes turn to the erstwhile First Mate...instantly promoted to 'Pirate Captain Hugh!' The illustrations appear pretty much phoned-in, as background details are at times left uncolored, and the effort to add diversity by tucking in a pair of darker-skinned figures--one a girl to boot--to the knavish cast comes off as perfunctory at best. Some verses of an original chantey fore and aft of the tale can be heard on the British edition's online book trailer. A point worth pondering, however facile its making."--Kirkus Reviews


"First mate Hugh is getting his pirate ship ready for an adventure, and though the crew is ready to take off, they are missing one very important thing: a captain. As the rest of the crew wonders who will step up to the plate, Hugh spies potential candidates and asks, 'Are you the Pirate Captain?' But each piratical feature--a hook for a hand, a parrot perched on a shoulder, a big braided beard--turns out to be something else entirely. Page turns reveal Hugh's mistaken assumptions--the hook is a coat hanger, the beard is a costume, and so on--which adds a lively bit of comedy. But in a sweet turn, when the crew puts their heads together to appoint a captain, Hugh is in for a big surprise. Parsons' jaunty, full-color acrylic illustrations provide lots of fun and cartoonish detail, and they are a clever companion to Jones' rhyming, sea-shanty-like verses. Youngsters might recognize themselves in Hugh, who overlooks his own leadership abilities, and this maritime romp is an entertaining way to deliver an empowering message."--Booklist


"First mage Hugh has readied his vessel and even tidies up his motley crew. Now, all he needs is a captain to lead them all on an ocean adventure. From the crow's nest he spots his first potential candidate, a promising fellow with a hook for a left hand. Upon closer inspection, though, 'the man [says] "I'm no pirate. This here's a pleasure boat. And what you took to be a hook is a hanger for my coat."' Further disappointments like a potential treasure map-turned-shopping list threaten to derail the determined Hugh until one legitimate swashbuckler points out that Hugh has already been an exceptional leader and should promote himself. Parson's humorous artwork is full of seafaring details and is as colorful as Jones's pirate vernacular. VERDICT This adventure will please pirate-loving listeners and has the added bonus of a subtle message that a true leader puts in the work first."--School Library Journal