Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin




Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Avast Me Hearties!

The clock is ticking toward the deadline for voting in the 2012 Children's Choice Books Awards.  The polls close on May 3, 2012.  Another outstanding candidate in the lineup under the K-2nd grade group is Pirates Don't Take Baths (Philomel Books) written and illustrated by John Segal.

As the words, "It's bath time", echo upstairs and downstairs, through hallways and in and out of rooms, a signal for an ongoing conflict between parents and children has been issued.  A struggle that's a real head-scratcher when you consider at the sight of the nearest puddle, children are in and splashing about in a New York minute.  A piglet forcefully declares:

No! No! No!
I'm not taking a bath.
Not tonight.  Not tomorrow.  Never.

When his mother questions, Never?, he answers with a disgusted expression on his face, clad in a pirate's tricorn, eye patch in place, sword raised high, enumerating what pirates do but taking a bath is definitely not one of them.  When she counters he adroitly switches occupations.  Now cowboys don't take baths.

This little guy changes his identity, careers and where he lives, like a chameleon does colors.  He shifts from cowboy to Eskimo to knight to living in the desert to being an astronaut and on to a treasure hunter.  As quickly as he transforms his patient mother responds to the point where both are ecstatic, each for reasons of their own.

Sudsy cover lettering followed by pale blue endpapers, front and back, replete with soap bubbles plunge readers into the bath-time battle of imagination versus reality.  Pencil and watercolor illustrations, usually two-page spreads, at times employing lots of white space, depict every nuance of the persistent porcine's avoidance of the tub.  His facial expressions and body language, when his mother's voice of reason intrudes, are hilarious with a capital H.

Author/illustrator, John Segal, has created a book, Pirates Don't Take Baths, brimming with riches, you won't even have to dive to reach.  Just open the cover and I double dare you not to laugh.  By visiting Segal's website linked above you can view more pictures from this title as well as his others; a true treat.

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