Adventures on the High Seas of Make-Believe
Captain Jack and the Pirates, by Peter Bently, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury; Dial Books, $17.99, 32 pages, ages 2-5.
Masters of nursery-school storytelling Peter Bently and Helen Oxenbury have teamed up to create this charming pirate tale set on the high seas of childhood imagination. Jack, Zack, and Caspar (who first appeared in King Jack and the Dragon) are at the beach, building a sandy galleon ready to ferry the boys on a swashbuckling adventure involving treasure and other (slightly parental-looking) pirates. Bently’s prose bobs with gentle rhymes peppered with nautical vocabulary like mainsail and bosun, while Oxenbury’s trademark illustrations bear her singular touch: here, cherubic youngsters revel in the timeless pleasures of make-believe. A delight from stem to stern, Captain Jack and the Pirates is a likely contender to join the pantheon of beloved children’s books.