Octopants: The Missing Pirate Pants / Rita Wants a Ninja / Little Scoot

Octopants: The Missing Pirate Pants
Suzy Senior and Claire Powell
Little Tiger

There’s definitely a plethora of pants in this new story about Octopants (narrator) and his ocean pals Turtle and Pufferfish. It’s the latter who has lost his favourite pirate pants and to make him feel less glum Octopants organises an undersea search. Having drawn a blank in the usual places in town, the friends brave the wreck and there they come upon a pirate crew with a pirate party in full swing with pants simply everywhere.

But then who should show up unexpectedly out of the blue sporting a funky hat and asking to join the pirate crew …
This is a jaunty rhyming text that flows well, and vibrant illustrations with plenty of humorous details to make little humans laugh, but Suzy Senior’s tale contains a serious message too: appearances can be deceptive so don’t be too hasty to make a judgement. With young children, you really can’t go wrong with a story about underpants.

Rita Wants a Ninja
Máire Zeph and Mr Ando (Andrew Whitson)
Graffeg

Is there no end to Rita’s demands? Seemingly not for now a game of hide-and-seek with her smaller sibling fuels a desire for her very own martial arts expert in the form of a ninja. How wonderful to have someone to instruct her in the art of stealth and invisibility. She’d learn how to control both mind and body as well as those shouts used when on the attack. However invincibility ninja style seemingly comes at a price –

a very big price and one she definitely isn’t prepared to pay after all. So it’s a resounding NO! for a ninja master …
Andrew Whitson’s expansive, action-packed scenes of Rita’s imaginings take readers along with the two children, into verdant Japanese bamboo forests and snowy landscapes wherein lurk fighting ninja clans.

Little Scoot
Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Edson Ikê
Boyds Mills Press

Perseverance no matter how difficult the situation, is key in this vibrantly illustrated American import.
I was itching to tweak the beginning part of the rhyming text but like its little tugboat protagonist, I kept going, and happily it improved. Keeping going and not giving up is the essence of the tale of Little Scoot. Suddenly she receives an alarm call: a large barge is aground on a sandbank and in need of her help. With a gathering storm the tiny tugboat has to force herself forward, pushing through her fears and the splashing, sploshing waves, as she tries her level best to be brave. Eventually, there before her is the stranded Big Barge.
Will the tiny craft succeed in her rescue mission? Even in the most difficult situations, she certainly isn’t a quitter …

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