Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Different story
Cons: Fewer puns, story could be scary, abrupt ending
The Bottom Line:
Pirates attack ship
Results is not as much fun
As earlier books
Can the Crew Defeat the Space Pirates?
It could be argued that pirates are a popular subject in the media these days, but I think that’s always been the case. Witness Commander Toad and the Space Pirates from the late 80’s that gave us pirates in space in a children’s picture book.
It’s been a long, uneventful space voyage for the crew of the Star Warts. You can tell by how truly bored the crew is. They’ve read all their books, watched all their movies, and played all their games multiple times. They are ready for any excitement they can get.
Their wish is fulfilled when the space ship of Commander Salamander comes on their radar. He is Commander Toad’s arch nemesis, and he quickly boards the ship and takes the crew hostage. He wants to introduce them to his favorite game – Hop the Plank. With only Doc Peepers free, can he come up with a way to defeat the pirates and save his crew?
Unfortunately, this book isn’t one of the better books in the Commander Toad series. The puns, one of the aspects I love, aren’t quite as plentiful, especially once the story gets started, although I think we get every possible pun on hop. There are still some enjoyable ones, but they are further and farther between.
Meanwhile, the story just falls a little flat for me. The twist at the end is a bit rushed and just doesn’t ring true. But I’m probably looking at this as an adult expecting more than a kid would expect. I have a vague recollection of this book as a kid, and I was okay with the story then.
I will put out a warning that this book is definitely scarier than many that have come before. The pirates feel like a much more menacing villain than even a sea monster and a planet that seems to swallow the crew, things we have faced in previous books. If your child is easily frightened, this probably isn’t the book in the series to start with.
As always for the series, the language is perfect for an easy reader, and the illustrations by Bruce Degen really help bring it to life and include a joke or two of their own.
Fans of Commander Toad will probably still enjoy this book, but Commander Toad and the Space Pirates just doesn’t hold up to the better books in the series.