Ned the Knitting Pirate by Diana Murray
ISBN 978-1-59643-890-3 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys R 4-7 yrs
This crew is as ragged and rollicking as you’d expect picture book pirates to be, and their mission—uncovering buried treasure, not pillaging and plundering—is about as adventurous as most storytimes will allow. These guys nonetheless have their standards, but there’s one mate that just won’t get with the program. When captain and crew belt out with pride, “We’re pirates, we’re pirates, out sailing the sea./ So scruffy and scrappy and happy are we./ We’re tougher than gristle and barnacle grit./ We heave, and we ho, and we swab, and we . . . ” “Knit!!!” comes the reply from Ned. A barefoot tar perched on a coil of rope with needles and yarn, Ned’s standing his ground regardless of criticism, working his signature “Knit!” into every shanty they sing. His eccentric hobby gets a whole lot of respect, though, when a sea monster attacks the Rusty Heap and Ned’s cozy knit blanket, catapulted from the deck, sends the behemoth to the sea floor for a hundred-year nap. The rhymed narration is a pleasure, and the pluckiest readers-aloud will supply a tune (or at least some serious foot stomping) for the pirates’ songs. Lammle’s roiling illustrations reassure listeners that the growling and bellowing and greedy celebration are all in good fun as the portly captain and his bulbous-nosed shipmates sing of their glorious life, and stoic Ned carries on until his big moment arrives. Get the kids on board, pass out the knitting needles . . . no, belay that order. Pass out the eye patches, and set sail.