Wednesday, July 16, 2014

No Pirates Allowed! Said Library Lou by Rhonda Gowler Greene

No Pirates Allowed! Said Library Lou by Rhonda Gowler Greene, illustrated by Brian Ajhar

Rating: 5 stars

Here's another book to add to the massive pile of children's books that teach children that brains can overpower brawn any day of the week.  Children love stories like this--probably because their muscles are, honestly, pretty wimpy at this point.

But what makes No Pirates Allowed! Said Library Lou particularly fantastic--and it is particularly fantastic--is the way that Rhonda Gowler Greene has taken that dusty theme, blown some seriously creative breath on it, and done a thing of her own.  (Brian Ajhar helps out with his larger-than-life illustrations of the characters!)

Here's the story:

Big Pirate Pete stomps into quiet, clean, serene Seabreezy Library one day.  With his stink and his squawking parrot, he's an easy target of sideway glances and frowny faces.  The library-goers are all afraid of him (or at least his smell), and they cower in the biography section.  All except Library Lou, who boldly strolls up, taps Big Pirate Pete on the shoulder, and asks if she can help.
"ARRGH!" Big Pete thundered. "Don't waste me day!
Walk the plank, saucy lass, or show me the way!
(Okay, I know I would be irate if Ben called me a "saucy lass"--though I shouldn't get too mad because I know that I am--I did chuckle when I read it out loud.)

Library Lou tells him that there is treasure in the library.  But he has to go home and shower first.  Big Pirate Pete's eyes get big at the fact that this landlubber is telling him what to do.  But treasure is involved.  So he goes home and scrubs himself silly.

When a squeaky-clean (and dashingly handsome) Big Pirate Pete strolls through the library doors the next day, Library Lou tells him there's another thing he has to do: learn the alphabet.  Big Pirate Pete is shocked that there are more than Xs he needs to know about!  Library Lou teaches him every day, and sends home a stack of books with him every night.  Big Pirate Pete reads them on his pirate ship--on the poop deck, to be exact.  Library Lou entices him to read more and more by saying there is a clue in a book…and Big Pirate Pete gets dizzy looking at the stacks and stacks of books in the library.

But he starts searching for the "clue" Library Lou references…
Maybe, just maybe, the code be in rhyme.
He loved Mother Goose.  Dr. Seuss--how sublime!
They tickled his fancy, but--no secret code.
Avast! Easy readers! He snatched Frog and Toad. 
Day after day after day he went back.
And night after night, he piled high a new stack.
He found books called classics, great tales of the sea.
"Blimey!" cried Big Pete. "Thar's whar the clue be! 
Treasure Island…Me like it!" But--no clue to be found.
Stumped, Big Pete scoured each shelf, up and down.
In the end, after reading dozens of books with fun references for kids and grown ups a la Wild About Books, Big Pirate Pete goes back to the library.  He's found the treasure.  And he wants to thank sweet Library Lou for helping him find it: "it" being reading for fun, of course!

This is a wonderful, fun read--again, I triple dog dare any kid who is NOT wild about books to let it sit on their night stand for more than a few minutes…!

P.S. This is another book chosen by kids for kids through the Children's Choices Project.  Click here to access pdf of all the great 2014 award-winning books and recommendations.

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