The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup

gingerbread-piratesCindy: Full disclosure. I’m a big-time gingerbread fan. My kitchen is decorated with them and I bake masses of them every year. So, it was only natural for me to want to taste The Gingerbread Pirates (Candlewick, 2009) and I’m happy to report that the book is a real treat!

Jim and his mother are baking gingerbread men when Jim suggests they make a pirate crew. His favorite is Captain Cookie, a fearless leader with a doughy cutlass and toothpick peg leg. That night Jim leaves a plate of pirate men for Santa to eat and takes the Captain up to bed with him. After Jim is asleep the Captain goes in search of his crew and that Santa guy who is threatening to eat them! From the gold foil on the cover of this oversized picture book to Matt Tavares’ heartwarming watercolor and gouache paintings to the well-received Santa gift requiring neither batteries or chargers, this book has a retro-Christmas feel to it. My husband read it and thinks it would make a great animated short film. I agree. Present this book with a box of toothpicks and let the holiday adventures begin!

Note to the FTC: this book was sent by the publisher, and I’m keeping it–right next to my Cookies for Christmas cookbook with my favorite gingerbread recipe. Delicious.

Lynn: As a dedicated curmudgeon most holiday books are just too sweet and sentimental for my taste. It may be genetic because my grandsons get restless when the cuteness quotient soars but this is a holiday book that kept all of us entertained. How can you go wrong with pirates – especially a pirate willing to rescue his crew from a cooking-chomping Santa? I loved the inventiveness of this clever book and the boys loved the adventure. They also really liked the idea of the pirate cookie with the peg leg. We haven’t made cookies yet but I suspect that many will be missing limbs this year. Matt Tavares’ illustrations have a richly saturated color palatte and also invoke a nicely done sense of tradition yet are still fresh and lively. The large scale illustrations make this ideal for classroom or storyhour reading and is terrific fun for all the small pirates on your holiday shopping lists. Arrrrrr!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

5 Comments on "The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup"

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  1.' Angela says:

    Oh man. I’ve never made gingerbread cookies before, but now I want to just so I can have ones with peg legs!

  2. Angela, you bake ’em and photograph them and we’ll add them to the blog! That goes for any creative gingerbread bakers out there. Let’s see what you’ve got!–Cindy (send .jpg to dobrez AT

  3.' Boni Ashburn says:

    Lynn, I’d definitely recommend Lemony Snicket’s A Lump Of Coal to you if you haven’t already read it 🙂

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