There's no telling what a game of baseball might bring but it's not every day that an afternoon at the ballyard includes ball-launching cannons and shovel-wielding base thieves In Pirates at the Plate, a story conceived and illustrated by artist Mark Summers, with text by Aaron Frisch, a ballgame turns into a one-of-a-kind showdown between cowboys and pirates. With stars such as a slugging Blackbeard and a hard-throwing Wild Bill Hickok, the great summer pastime becomes a rowdy adventure.
About the Author
Aaron Frisch is an editor and author whose picture books--published by Creative Editions--have received an IPPY Award Gold Medal, a Spur Award, and a finalist nomination for the Minnesota Book Awards. Mark Summers has created artwork for numerous magazines, Barnes & Noble bookstores, and U.S. postage stamps. In 2000, he received the Society of Illustrators' coveted Hamilton King Award for best illustration of the year.
Sure, the Pirates play for Pittsburgh and the Cowboys play (football) in Dallas, but Summers and Frisch have something else in mind: buccaneers versus cowherds in a rousing, rules-defying game of baseball. Several storied figures appear: Wild Bill (Hickok) and Hopalong Cassidy pitch for the Cowboys (Cassidy is seen literally "warming up in the bullpen," toasting his hands over a campfire, surrounded by steer). Summers both illustrated and conceived of his debut children's book-his dramatic scratchboard caricatures of authors graced the signage and shopping bags at Barnes & Noble for years-and his illustrations give the book a regal air, despite the mischief players on both teams get up to and the many puns Frisch employs. When a "big-bopping Bluebeard wait[s] on deck, he's seen kneeling, baseball bat in hand, aboard a storm-tossed ship in an eerily majestic wordless spread. That somber mood doesn't last, though: on the next page, Long John (Silver) "blasts one deep to center field" using a cannon. It's a rip-roaring story, and even the twist ending doesn't diminish its sense of playfulness and fun. Ages 6-up. -Publishers Weekly