The Old Pirate of Central Park (Hardcover)
In this wonderfully quirky story, two stubborn souls - a retired pirate and a retired queen - do battle in the sailboat pond in Central Park. Inspired by memories of his past, the Old Pirate has built a marvelous replica of his sailing ship, the Laughing Dog. But when he takes it to the park to launch it in the pond, he finds the waters are not so friendly - the S.S. Uppity Duchess is unwilling to share the seas and takes aim at the Laughing Dog. Who will rule the waves in this offbeat tale of high-seas adventure and friendship found in New York City?
About the Author
Robert Priest is an illustrator and art instructor. He is the author of The Pirate's Eye, and The Town That Got Out of Town, which received excellent reviews. He lives in Stoughton, Massachusetts, with his wife, his son, his dog, and some rowdy chickens.
Old Pirate, who longs for the days he spent as captain of the Laughing Dog, builds a replica of his ship and launches it at the Central Park Sailboat Pond. All goes well until a retired queen arrives to inaugurate her model ocean liner, the S.S. Uppity Duchess, which practically swamps every other vessel. After several rounds of verbal sparring and miniature cannon fire, the queen begs for a truce, and the pair makes peace--just in time for their afternoon naps. Priest's enameled airbrush paintings offer a stylized, brightly colored view of New York City. Objects, and especially people, are depicted without extraneous detail, allowing the color palate to assume greater importance. Although the characters are all adults, their behavior is certainly childlike, which should appeal to the intended audience. Booklist, ALA
A retired pirate sails a model ship in Central Park, only to be bombarded by a retired queen's reckless ship, complete with mini cannonballs. Eventually, the two call a truce and realize they have much in common. Young readers will be intrigued by the miniature battle on the pond. Priest's striking artwork aptly emphasizes the action within each spread. Horn Book
The leap-at-you color and elegantly stylized illustrations, resembling airbrushed linoleum-cuts, give this book an instant allure; the storya noble tale of character and social leveling, mock drama and high mirth more than meets the expectations aroused by that first impression. A retired pirate, out on a stroll in Central Park, is prompted by his memories to build a scale-model replica of his pirate ship and launch it in the park's sailboat pond. All is shipshape until an old queen arrives and has her servant launch an outsized linerthe S.S. Uppity Duchess. The liner barges about, swamping the other boats in the pond, but at the pirate's suggestion to slow her vessel, the queen opens fire on his ship. He responds with a broadside of his own and a great battle ensues; tiny cannonballs zing this way and that, people take cover, dogs and young children run riot, taxis on Fifth Avenue come to a halt. Then the queen calls a truce; she's in need of a nap, and from that needwhich the pirate sharesflows the notes of reconciliation. ``Peace and tranquility once again reigned at the pond. Sails were set, dogs recaptured, and gentle laughter returned to the soft summer air of New York City.'' Priest tells the story with dash and verve, whether in a turn of phrase or a line of art; it not only features a contemporary city with one of its great pleasuresthe parkin full flower, but a realm in which the wish for a little rest outweighs the wages of war.
Kirkus Reviews —