Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Gingerbread Pirates

The Gingerbread Pirates. Kristin Kladstrup. Illustrated by Matt Tavares. 2009. Candlewick. 32 pages.

It was Christmas Eve, and Jim and his mother were making gingerbread men. "Let's make a pirate crew," said Jim. And so they did.
The captain had a gingerbread cutlass and a peg leg made from a toothpick. Jim loved him best of all. 
"You'd better leave some pirates out for Santa Claus to eat," said his mother.
"Not Captain Cookie!" said Jim.

 This one definitely has potential to please. While it didn't quite work for me--at least not completely--it had its moments. "Captain Cookie" stars in this one. He may be safe--by Jim's request--but his crew is not. For while he is upstairs with a sleeping Jim. His "men" (his "crew) are downstairs in a cookie jar awaiting Santa's arrival. Can Captain Cookie find a way to save his crew? Can he get the other cookies out of the jar and to safety before Santa comes?

I liked the attention to detail. Especially in the illustrations. It's a creative story with a true dilemma. (Is any cookie EVER safe?) But the ending, well, it didn't quite work for me. For it appears that Santa grants them all safety--giving them a pirate ship--but the last page reveals an empty plate full of crumbs. And the crew of Jim's new pirate ship? Well, they don't look like cookies. But I could COMPLETELY be misreading this one. (The Publishers Weekly review reads like Santa is very friendly. And Kirkus Reviews says that "Christmas magic" has transformed the cookies into toys. So maybe there is hope.)

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

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