Pirates Don't Change Diapers
by Melinda Long; illustrated by David Shannon
Sick of pirate books? Me neither. And you know if David Shannon's the illustrator, it must be deliciously awful. The pirates must look extra smelly and weirdly ugly, but in a totally non-scary way.
And so they do, in this sequel to a book I never read but wish I had. Little Jeremy Jacob has blue eyes as big as saucers, and they get even rounder when his pirate buddies show up looking for the treasure they buried in his yard.
Mom's out running errands. Dad and the baby are napping. Okay, make that just Dad.
You can probably figure out the plot from here as the pirates go nuts trying to keep wee Bonney Anne quiet long enough to dig up their loot. But does anyone ever buy a pirate book for its plot? Pirates ... treasure ... that pretty much sums things up.
Long blithely sticks in a few anachronisms, which Shannon zealously exploits, for a few zings and groaners that parents will get sooner than kids. It's sorta like the criticism of Shrek--it parodies meta-stories that kids haven't read yet. So how do you explain its humor?
Aw, never mind. Shannon's art is so malevolently cunning, such a seemless combination of messy and bright, detailed and chaotic, and so chock-full of visual gags that the book's a can't miss.