Peter Sís blends a true story from his childhood with the fictional adventure of Robinson Crusoe to create a magical picture book filled with heart and imagination that readers will want to return to again and again.
JLG Release: Jan 2018
Awards & Honors
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2017, Picture Books
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine*, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*
School Library Journal
Sís’s latest picture book fuses an episode from his childhood with the plot of Robinson Crusoe—a favorite novel when he was young. Sequential panels lead to full-bleed double spreads as the first-person accounts describe the way a group of five diverse friends play pirates in every conceivable set [STARRED REVIEW]
Sís’s latest picture book fuses an episode from his childhood with the plot of Robinson Crusoe—a favorite novel when he was young. Sequential panels lead to full-bleed double spreads as the first-person accounts describe the way a group of five diverse friends play pirates in every conceivable setting, from a backyard tent to the bathtub. When the school costume party is announced, the collective choice is obvious, until Peter’s mother suggests that he go as Crusoe. The ensuing drama—contrasting the boy’s anticipation about wearing the lovingly crafted outfit with embarrassment as the friends (unfamiliar with the story) tease him—is one that will resonate with many readers. A dream sequence follows the boy’s retreat to his room, where the bed becomes a boat, and he floats “in and out of hours, or maybe days.” The artist’s signature meticulously detailed watercolor and ink scenes become looser, stylized, the colors more saturated—think Matisse’s Fauve period. Peter enters lush landscapes, a maze of tropical fruit and wild creatures, and nurturing green and blue scenes of exquisite beauty. He takes on the persona of his favorite protagonist, “owning” the costume at last. Ever on the lookout for pirates, he makes peace with his friends in a deeply satisfying conclusion. Visual references to earlier books, nods to Maurice Sendak, and a photograph with the author’s note describing the incident that inspired this tale all provide depth and insight. VERDICT Sís’s ability to represent and resolve the theater unfolding in children’s minds is unparalleled. A brilliant adventure to share one-on-one or with a small group.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library
Building on a childhood memory, Sís writes of a school costume party where he and his friends decide to go as pirates. Intervening, his mother reminds him of his love for adventure. Why not go as Robinson Crusoe, from young Peter’s favorite book? In a flurry of action, shown in a continuous circular movement, [STARRED REVIEW]
Building on a childhood memory, Sís writes of a school costume party where he and his friends decide to go as pirates. Intervening, his mother reminds him of his love for adventure. Why not go as Robinson Crusoe, from young Peter’s favorite book? In a flurry of action, shown in a continuous circular movement, she creates a distinctive furry brown costume for him. Young Peter proudly walks to the party but is met with ridicule by his friends in their brightly colored pirate costumes. He returns to his own room, a gloomy blue-gray box shown in aerial perspective that emphasizes his isolation, and falls asleep. Reminiscent of another picturebook voyager, Peter sails “in and out of hours, or maybe days,” until he arrives at a desert island, presented as a calm oval centerpiece on a full-bleed spread of concentric sea circles. Wondering if he will survive, Peter, now back in his costume, encounters strange creatures and flora in Gauguin-like illustrations that are at first dark but then alive with color and hope and possibility. Through hard work and persistence, our hero thrives, eventually hosting the island creatures to a triumphant dinner; he has become master of his own fate. But his confidence erodes when he spots pirate footprints on the shore. “Have they come to plunder and spoil? Will they try to hurt me?” Peter, now in his pajamas, peers out anxiously from a furry green cloisonnë forest—but fantasy has begun to blur back into reality, as he’s now dressed in his pajamas, and indeed the “pirates” are his friends, come to check up on him and invite him to play. An author’s note, including a photograph of young Sís in his costume, concludes this visually stunning and empowering tale. betty carter
11 3/4" x 9 3/4"
Level 2.1; Points: 0.5;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 2.1; Points: 1;