BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

No Bath, No Cake! Polly’s Pirate Party by Matthias Weinert, translated by David Henry Wilson

No Bath No CakeThe morning began with an early birthday in our house before going off to another swim meet. Always the swim meet! Egads, the time passes so quickly, I can’t keep up. That the kids are getting older only means I’m getting more ancient. Someone, please pass me my walker already!

Meanwhile, on the good ship Mary Anne, Pete the pirate parrot rallies the motley crew alarmingly awake with the announcement of a letter “through the mail slot.” Didn’t know pirate ships had such, did you?

“Dear Pirates,” Polly writes, “At 4 p.m. today I shall be celebrating my birthday … Please come.”

The pirates prance in excited anticipation, ready to disembark on to festive shores … “All except Pete.” Pete has other ideas: he cannot let his pirates party without a proper cleaning. “‘No bath, no cake!'” Pete warns. But that’s not all. Pirate clothes must be purged for better duds: “No smarty, no party!” And then there’s the right sort of prezzie for a little girl – saber, robe, wooden leg, cannon are all out of the question! And can’t forget the pretty wrapping, right?

FINALLY, the pirates are prepped … and patiently assemble on Polly’s front stoop. “‘But you don’t look at all like pirates,'” Polly pouts. “Pirates have dirty feet, filthy clothes, and shaggy hair.” In fact, “‘No pirates, no cake!'” So much for Pete’s perfect party advice …

Author/illustrator Matthias Weinert surely has a fantastically ironic sense of humor. His energetic drawings add more goofy giggles to the page, filled with unexpected delightful details – the rats’ antics are especially entertaining. One tiny quibble parents might notice is the repeated use of the ‘s-word’ – the two-syllable kind that starts with ‘stu,’ ahem.

But pretty-please forgive Weinert his manners: according to his jacket bio, the Hamburg-based Weinert just may have ties to “Germany’s most notorious pirate” Klaus Störtebeker. Pete’s Captain Brummel “may well be” a direct descendant, which would definitely make Weinert somehow related, right. It’s all in the bad blood!

Besides, Weinert provides the best birthday gift of all … a welcome reminder of the importance of being wholly yourself, regardless of what your feet, clothes, or hair may look like. Forget the naysayers … choose the laughter (and cake) every time!

Readers: Children

Published: 2013 (United States)


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