Friday, January 14, 2011
Maggie and the Pirate
You'll remember a few days ago I begged, pleaded, that you, my dear readers would shoot me a few pirate titles for my sea lovin' boy. And I was met with . . . complete silence. But that's okay. Because it forced me to do my own homework. And as a result I now bring you this strange tale of Maggie, a girl who lives in a bus and her pet cricket, Niki.
The kids and I have read many of Ezra Jack Keats books. A Letter For Amy and The Snowy Day being our unanimous favorites. Imagine my delight upon stumbling across this, on our own shelves. I love browsing at home. I really do. So Maggie. What's there to say about Maggie that the picture doesn't tell? I love her curly red hair and bare feet. And the fact that she lives on a bus, swings over the river in a tire swing, and explores the banks on a raft. Well, I think I want to be her.
But then there's this fellow.
Watching Maggie as she hangs Niki's cage from a tree beside the bus and beats it down the path to meet Paco and Katie.
When Maggie returns from town, loaded down with groceries for her Ma, she finds Niki and cage gone. Instead there is a note.
Maggie sets off, in the moonlight, to find Niki. But nowhere is a pirate to be found. And all around her, the chirping of crickets stirs her on.
I hate to include spoilers, even for picture books. But spoil, I must. The cricket dies. Maggie discovers the pirate, a lonely boy, in his tree house hideout, built above a marsh. There is a scuffle, and the tree house collapses, sending Maggie, the pirate, and Niki still in her cage, into the water below. Niki drowns.
Maggie, Paco, and Katie bury Niki and sing sad songs.
Then, the pirate appears with the wooden cage. And inside is a new cricket.
Ultimately, this book is about asking for, and receiving forgiveness. Not so much about pirates. But oddly enough, my rowdy, belly fart loving boy can't get enough of this quiet, thoughtful book.
And neither can I.