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Book Reviews

Small Saul

by Ashley Spires

From the creator of Binky the Spacecat comes Small Saul, another story about a charming lightweight who craves adventure.

Saul longs for a life at sea, but Pirate College turns out to be anything but a natural fit. He daydreams when he should be digging for treasure; he’s more interested in pastry than pillaging. Despite his contemplative and domestic nature, Small Saul graduates and lands a spot on the last ship in port – only to find himself dogged once again by his lack of pirate instinct.

Unimpressed by Saul’s efforts to freshen the ship’s decor, and merely amused by his bunny tattoo, the pirate captain tosses Saul overboard and sails away. It’s not long, however, before captain and crew learn to appreciate Small Saul’s contribution to their way of life, and when he rejoins the ship, it’s as a revered member of the team.

Small Saul might have benefited from a little more dialogue, but it’s a simple narrative kids will find familiar. In the end, the words are there mainly in support of the pictures, which are engaging and cartoonish throughout. Indeed, the best jokes are contained in the images rather than the text.

While the underlying message about individuality may be nothing new, Spires’ piratical misfit fulfills his potential in a way that is genuinely endearing and hilarious.