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The Pirate and the Penguin

by Patricia Storms

In The Pirate and the Penguin, Toronto cartoonist and illustrator Patricia Storms presents her own humorous version of the traditional tale of two characters who are unhappy with their lives and find contentment when they switch places. Penguin feels that the South Pole is far too cold, and is bored by the limited interests of the other penguins, who only dream, do yoga, or dream of doing yoga. Knitting himself a green sweater for the journey, he sets off on an ice floe to look for adventure.

Meanwhile, in the Caribbean, a pirate captain (in a green jacket) gets a rash from the sun, is disinclined to hunt for treasure, and retires to his bunk dreaming of a tranquil life in a cool climate. Obviously, these two are destined to meet.

Storms’ cartooning background is evident in the liveliness she achieves with simple lines and few colours. Penguin is purple, unlike his blue companions, and Pirate has a purple hat and pants that set him apart from his crew, who are just as bewildered as the blue penguins by the restlessness and discontent of their fellow. Many of the drawings contain little jokes that are hardly subtle, but reward a young reader’s attention to detail. The skull and crossbones on the handle of Pirate’s backscratcher is a particularly nice touch.