From Kirkus, March 1 2008
In this silly, off-kilter tale, fourth-grader Wilson discovers a long-lost Uncle who happens to be a real-life pirate. He comes complete with pistols, a peg leg, and a talking penguin. Uncle Pirate sets out to find a job, one day accompanying WIlson to his bizarrely topsy-turvy school. The teachers are more than inept, the principal hides under his desk, the classrooms are chaos and recess invokes images of Lord of the Flies. To get the school ship-shape, Uncle Pirate deploys a combination of pirate-speak -- "mollymockery" and "arh" -- and good-hearted intimidation -- "Which of you scurvy mop buckets knows that word?" When all is said and done, Uncle Pirate has a job: he transforms teachers and students into happy sub-pirates and the school into a place of learning. Auth's comical illustrations add to the witty tone. A great middle-reader for any young landlubber who likes a good yarn and believes everyone deserves a chance.
Fourth-grade bully-bait Wilson is surprised and delighted when his long-lost uncle, a pirate, suddenly shows up on his family's doorstep, accompanied by a talking penguin. Wilson's parents, already cramped in their small condo, are less thrilled, especially when the penguin commandeers the refrigerator for his sleeping quarters. Wilson tries to help his uncle find gainful employment, but Uncle Pirate only really finds his element when he takes Wilson and the penguin to school. The school is a disaster, with teachers running away, classes mutinying right and left, and the principal hiding under his desk guarded by a secretary who allows entrance to the office only if bribed with food. Uncle Pirate soon sets things "shipshape and Bristol fashion," though, turning all the classes into 'ships' complete with signed articles and pirate names for everyone. This is a rib-tickling and original yarn, and the school-as-squadron-of-pirate-ships works so well that creative and daring teachers may find themselves considering piratical plans of their own. Particularly amusing is Uncle Pirate's fondness for secretaries "Oh, there be many a song sung by a lonely pirate under a tropical moon about some secretary loved and lost," sighs Uncle Pirate); a pirate ballad regarding secretaries, complete with musical notion, is helpfully included. Though silliness abounds, more realistic situations, such as bullying ("There is something about being named Wilson, and being small, and wearing glasses, that makes kids with names like Scott or Jason think they can beat you up") and difficulty with reading (poor reader Carla is the one Uncle Pirate cannily taps to teach the penguin to read) are also skillfully incorporated. Nearly every page features Auth's cartoonish monochromatic pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations hat enhance the comic elements of the story, especially the pop-eyed penguin's determined seriousness. Pirate fans, reluctant readers, readers-aloud, and just about anyone else will gladly sign on with this captain.
From ??? 2008
Wilson is small, he wears glasses, and the bullies at his school love to make his life miserable. One day Wilson is sitting at the dinner table with his parents when his mother puts one her delicious pumpkin pies on the table. Wilson and his father know that Mom only makes pumpkin pie when she has bad news to impart. Reluctantly she shows her husband and son a letter from the navy. Apparently, the navy found Mom.s brother on an island off Antarctica and they are sending this brother to Mom. This news is truly astonishing news because Wilson and his father had no idea that Mom had a brother.
They barely have time to digest this news when Mom.s brother, Bob, arrives. Wilson does not know what to think when he sees his uncle for the first time. The man is dressed like a pirate, he has a patch over one eye, a peg leg, he is armed with two pistols and a cutlass, and he is accompanied by a penguin. Wilson soon finds out that his uncle is an honest to goodness pirate who has no home, no money, and is in need of a job.
After managing to mess up two jobs in quick succession, Uncle Pirate goes to Wilson.s school with his .nevvy. to arrange for his penguin, Captain Jack, to be educated. Uncle Pirate has taught Captain Jack how to speak, and now the penguin wants to learn how to read and write as well. When they get to Wilson.s school, Captain Pirate soon sees that the school is a disaster area. The students are out of control, and the staff are either indifferent to, or terrified of, the kids. Without wasting any time, Uncle Pirate decides to take the students in Wilson.s class in hand, and the results of his efforts are quite astonishing.
In this deliciously funny novel, Douglas Rees introduces us to Uncle Pirate and we cannot help wishing he was a real live person. With his unusual approach to life, and his wonderfully piratical way of speaking, Uncle Pirate is truly one of kind.