Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Small Saul

Small Saul

Ashley Spires
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Kids Can Press, 2011   ISBN: 978-1554535033

More than anything Small Saul wants to have “a life at sea.” Unfortunately, Small Saul is too small to become a sailor in the Navy, but he is able to get into Pirate College. Saul really isn’t what you would call a “natural pirate.” He is good at swabbing the deck, navigation, and singing sea shanties, but when it comes to looting and other acts of violence, he doesn’t do so well.

Despite his inclination for the gentler things in life, Saul manages to get his Pirate Diploma, and finally he is taken on by the crew of The Rusty Squid. It soon becomes clear that Saul is going to have to work very hard to prove that he is capable of being a pirate. Saul knows that pirates care about their ship, being tough, and finding treasure. He really tries to focus on these things, but he cannot seem to meet piratical standards. In fact, poor Saul fails so miserably that the captain of the ship pushes Saul overboard. Is this the end of Saul’s pirate career?

Everyone who has ever struggled with ‘fitting in’ will fall in love with Saul the pirate. He is small and rather puny, he likes to decorate and bake, and he cannot utter a suitably piratical “ARRRRRR’ to save his life. Despite all these setbacks, Saul doesn’t quit, and he tries to find his own very unique pirate mojo.

With a loveable main character, wonderful touches of humor, and a meaningful message, this is a picture book that readers of all ages will appreciate and enjoy.