Starred Review from SLJ!

This Just In: The first mainstream review for my new picture book, A Pirate’s Guide to First Grade, illustrated by Greg Ruth. The review appears in the August issue of School Library Journal, and was written by Jasmine L. Precopio.

What does this mean for you, personally? Jeepers, do I really have to spell it out? Okay, since you asked: It means, good people, that it’s now officially safe for you to buy this book as soon as possible. Now in stock! Think of your future grandchildren!

Told entirely in pirate lingo, this story follows a boy and his entourage of ethereal salty dogs through the first day of school. “Me great scurvy dog slurped me kisser when I was tryin’ t’ get me winks!” The protagonist’s fruitful imagination turns ordinary routine into a high-seas adventure complete with a small, skirted buccaneer walking the plank during recess. In the end, where does X mark the spot? Treasure abounds in the library, with the chance to experience the adventure of the written word. The illustrations have a vintage feel, complete with boisterous grog-drinking, scabbard-waving, and bubble-pipe-smoking pirates. The combination of the muted tones of the pirates with the bold colors of the real world adds to the visual appeal. Despite the glossary, the text may prove a little challenging for the intended audience. However, it can serve as a tremendous read-aloud, especially on Talk Like a Pirate Day.


  1. Kurtis says:


  2. GREG RUTH says:

    Congrats indeed Jimmy! Can’t tell you how much the kids I’ve read this to love the writing. Especially when you do it in gravel voice with a distinct fisherman’s accent. (black bean teeth help too)

  3. Jasmine Precopio says:

    I really enjoyed your book- it was a pleasure to review! It is a “best seller” at my elementary library- Congrats!

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