Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Mabbitt's bustling debut combines a humorously intrusive narrator with lively illustrations by Collins (Dear Vampa). After Mabel Jones picks her nose and eats the "bogey" she extracts from it, she promptly finds herself an indentured pirate aboard an otherworldly ship filled with wolves, pigs, crocodiles, and a vindictive loris named Omynus Hussh. In the servitude of Idyrss Ebeneezer Split, the captain of the Feroshus Maggot, Mabel learns that the only way to get home is to help the captain collect the pieces of a key scattered among treacherous thieves and pirates before a comet disappears, sealing the porthole between realms for another hundred years. With time running out and suspicious Jarvis the Psychopomp to contend with, Mabel battles ghosts, counts, and a whale to return to the "hooman" world. Playful font variations and word placement amplify the already funny narrative, as do Collins's numerous illustrations (not all seen by PW), which emphasize Mabel's daredevil leanings and the budding relationship between Mabel and Omynus. First in a series, this comical novel should become a readaloud favorite. Ages 8-12. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 3-6-If you should ever decide to pick your nose, do not, under any circumstances, put what you find in there in your mouth. For if you perform this sacred deed, you might find yourself kidnapped from the safe Hooman world (by a surprisingly silent loris) and suddenly out to sea on a pirate ship filled with fearsome pirate animals such as goats, orangutans (formally a hair salon owner), pigs, and a foul-breathed wolf captain. If you did, you would be much like our brave hero Mabel Jones, who finds herself standing aboard the Feroshus Maggot as Captain Idyss Ebenezer Split prepares to have her walk the Greasy Pole of Certain Death. Mabel, clad only in her pajamas, saves herself from the torrent of the ocean by reading. Desperate to figure out the names of the pirates who stole pieces of a magical X from his father, Split has been waiting from someone to read them. The X will mark the spot of a magical treasure and, according to the pirates, open a portal back to the Hooman world so that Mabel might return home. So her ridiculous, dangerous, and vile adventures begin as she and her new cohorts track down the pieces. The heroine finds herself challenging a merciless bear to a milk drinking contest, breaking pirates out of prison, outwitting a vain duke, and breaking into a crypt in search of a deceased sheep. The ever-present narrator is obviously a pirate (and a very opinionated one at that) and adds a proper amount of exaggeration and attempted suspense to the tale telling. This style is entertaining, though better accomplished in Caroline Carlson's "The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates" series (HarperCollins). Black-and-white illustrations are sprinkled throughout. VERDICT A zany and twisted pirate tale that could be a good addition to collections for readers transitioning into longer chapter books.-Clare A. Dombrowski, Amesbury Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Anyone for a postapocalyptic pirate adventure with gross bits? Spying young Mabel performing a DEED disgusting enough to blow a hole through time (i.e., she picks her nose and eats it), Idryss Ebenezer Split, peg-legged wolf captain of the pirate ship Feroshus Maggot, kidnaps her to join his all-animal crew. Said crew's initial horror and disgust that she is a GIRL! soon turns to admiration, as Mabel bravely walks the Greasy Pole of Certain Death and takes over a quest to gather up the broken parts of a key that will open a passage back to her own era. Along with adventurous typography and comically melodramatic line drawings, the narrative is festooned with bold feats, treacherous acts, and narrow squeaks as Mabel leads the way to a largely submerged London for climactic battles with foes living and dead. Mabbitt leaves the door slightly ajar for equally farcical sequels, and Mabel is just the resolute sort to push her way through.--Peters, John Copyright 2015 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Mabel picks her nose, eats it, and consequently finds herself a prisoner among pirates who like a good pun; unless she helps them find the X, she'll never get home to London. Absurdity prevails in this whimsical voyage light on substance and rife with bad spelling, which seems to be the point. Varying typefaces and Collins's playful line illustrations amplify the zaniness. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Bloodthirsty pirates abduct their latest crew member only to find to their horror that it'sa girl! Adventure on the high seas comes to a young girl in the dead of night. Kidnapped after performing the "Deed" (picking her nose and eating it) that binds its performer to the nefarious Capt. Idyrss Ebeneezer Split, Mabel Jones is impressed into a crew of animal brigands on a quest for a missing treasure. She has already earned the distrust and hatred of a slow loris by the name of Omynus Hussh ("quiet as a peanut and sneaky as a woodlouse in a jar of raisins"), who may strike adult readers as something rather like a cuddly Gollum. If she is to return home she must aid the quest, befriend the loris, and outsmart a captain who has outrageously evil plans in mind. On display are some true laugh-out-loud moments, as with a piratical love letter calling a sweetheart "the rancid whale fat that fuels the lantern of my heart" and signed by "Brutal Laars the Dolphin Strangler." Better still, it keeps moving at a hearty clip, keeping readers engaged throughout. A little bit of Monty Python, a touch of Capt. Jack Sparrow, and a whole bucketful of good-natured gross-out humor round out the adventure. This high-spirited, pirate-tastic romp is for kids who like their buccaneers a little on the wild side. (Adventure. 8-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.