Reviews for High Skies Adventures of Blue Jay The Pirate


Booklist Reviews 2012 September #2
This appealing yarn tells of a band of bird pirates who sail their ship through the sky and one day bring aboard a mysterious egg despite a superstitious sailor's warning that it's "an evil ovum." When a gosling hatches, Blue Jay, the captain feared by many but admired by his crew, insists the youngster, Gabriel, be kept on. Gabriel quickly grows in size, but bad luck arrives just as fast, and together this ragtag avian crew battles crows, still winds, and other hazards while they quest for their next plunder. Technically, pirates are bad guys, but Nash's distinct characters, from shorebirds to sparrows to a very helpful star-nosed mole, are sympathetic and well drawn (literally, as the book features frequent and wonderful full-page illustrations), and Gabriel proves his value and self-worth in bad times and good. Referencing Robert Louis Stevenson and hearkening back to classic animal adventures of yore, this has the tone and style to appeal to thoughtful young readers; a coming-of-age element to gratify older ones; and drama, battles, and triumphs to entice the rest. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
In this bird-populated fantasy, Blue Jay, captain of the [cf2]Grosbeak[cf1], values his reputation as a "loathsome" pirate, no matter how far from the truth it is. A rare egg proves vital to Jay and his crew as they battle the villainous crows. Through frequent full-page illustrations and a lively text, Nash creates a swashbuckling animal adventure.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #1
A corvid catastrophe threatens swashbuckling Blue Jay and his mixed avian crew after a treetop shipwreck leaves them to the tender mercies of a murder of crows. Reputed to be "generally the most bloodthirsty and fearsome pirate to sail the high skies" (but not really that bad), Blue Jay flies the Jolly Robin from his ship the Grosbeak. Aside, however, from occasional harmless plundering, he much prefers sailing grandly through the clouds. Still, after falling into the clutches of his more viciously piratical cousin Teach and getting their flight feathers clipped, he and his scrappy crew--particularly Gabriel, a recent hatchling who grows in the tale from an oversized and ungainly bumbler into a magnificent Branta goose--must act. They rise to defeat the crows in a pair of savage battles with help from flocks of sparrows and an intrepid mole. In his debut as a novelist, Nash's dialogue comes off as stilted ("This evening… I managed to successfully facilitate a visit between our unwitting weasels and a she wolf," reports the mole), and his efforts to inject mystical notes with repeated references to geese as gods or godlings seem labored. Otherwise, he crafts a merry romp that is much enhanced by frequent formally drawn ink-and-color scenes of an airborne galleon and full-body portraits of birds posing in 17th-century costume. An imaginative premise, fledged in showy if sometimes overdecorated finery. (Fantasy. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2013 January/February
This fast-paced adventure features a flock of pirate birds that is sure to captivate readers until the crew's final high-stakes voyage. In his debut novel, Nash creates a cast of memorable pirates, led by Captain Blue Jay. Although his crew has a reputation for being some of the most gruesome and bloodthirsty sailors in the skies, in reality, Blue Jay's favorite pastime is adding to his egg collection. But, when he and his crew are shipwrecked and have their flight feathers cut, the pirates must rely on some unlikely allies. Nash's full-color illustrations are the perfect complement. Although the tale moves quickly and leaves readers wondering how the pirates will be able to defeat the crows and win back their ship, at times the language and dialogue feel forced for the intended audience. Overall, however, this is an imaginative adventure of thievery and bravery in the high skies. Anne Bozievich, Library Media Specialist, Friendship Elementary School, Glen Rock, Pennsylvania [Editor' Note: Available in e-book format.] RECOMMENDED Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #4

Picture book creator Nash (The Cat in the Rhinestone Suit) offers a charming illustrated novel set in a world filled with anthropomorphic avian pirates. Blue Jay, the notorious captain of the airship Grosbeak, has been collecting eggs for years as he robs from the evil oligarchs in Thrushia. He rarely lets them hatch (and is happy to perpetuate the myth that he cannibalistically consumes them), but when his navigator, Junco, is compelled to nurse one particular egg, the entire crew has to care for Gabriel, a rare gosling. Their adventures take them into contact with everything from dangerous fisher cats and a dirt-loving mole on the ground to bats and crows in the air. Nash creates a wholly original and fully realized world in its own right, though it's hard to avoid comparisons to previous anthropomorphic animal tales; as with Redwall, scenes of violence and death intermix with the whimsy of the concept. That neither element overwhelms the other is a testament to Nash's aptitude, and readers should long remember the novel's endearing characters, which appear throughout in his gracefully integrated full color pen-and-ink art. Ages 9â??13. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Picture book creator Nash (The Cat in the Rhinestone Suit) offers a charming illustrated novel set in a world filled with anthropomorphic avian pirates. Blue Jay, the notorious captain of the airship Grosbeak, has been collecting eggs for years as he robs from the evil oligarchs in Thrushia. He rarely lets them hatch (and is happy to perpetuate the myth that he cannibalistically consumes them), but when his navigator, Junco, is compelled to nurse one particular egg, the entire crew has to care for Gabriel, a rare gosling. Their adventures take them into contact with everything from dangerous fisher cats and a dirt-loving mole on the ground to bats and crows in the air. Nash creates a wholly original and fully realized world in its own right, though it's hard to avoid comparisons to previous anthropomorphic animal tales; as with Redwall, scenes of violence and death intermix with the whimsy of the concept. That neither element overwhelms the other is a testament to Nash's aptitude, and readers should long remember the novel's endearing characters, which appear throughout in his gracefully integrated full color pen-and-ink art. Ages 9â??13. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

Gr 4-7--Captain Blue Jay, notoriously feared pirate captain of the flying ship Grosbeak, loves to collect eggs, giving him a revered reputation as a cannibal. When his latest treasure hatches, revealing a fast-growing gosling, the feathered crew bickers as to what to do with him. Motherly Junco takes young Gabriel under her wing, teaching him the ways of pirate life, much to the chagrin of the other birds on board who fear his burgeoning size will be their downfall. The avian society faces oppressive taxes and the Thrush government forbids migration, which forces the pirate birds to flee skyward. Bigger issues soon ensue as they find themselves not only trying to escape the oppressive Thrushian government, but also thieving crows and murderous weasels and fishers. When the Grosbeak becomes shipwrecked and Gabriel (who cannot yet fly) falls from the ship, he and Junco escape attacks, finding refuge at the tavern of Poppa Fox. With his help and a nearly blind mole named Hillary, Gabriel and Junco set off to find their shipmates before the crows murder them all. This swashbuckling adventure is Nash's first novel, and the numerous full-color illustrations are spot-on, adding charm and whimsy to the motley crew of characters. With a sophisticated vocabulary, a certain amount of violence, and colorful pirate language, the book requires fairly competent readers. A pirate adventure with birds as heroes and villains might have limited appeal to older readers, but animal fantasy fans not quite ready for Brian Jacques's "Redwall" series (Philomel) may want to walk the plank and jump in.--Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA

[Page 146]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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VOYA Reviews 2012 August
Blue Jay the Pirate and his crew of misfit birds sail the skies under the banner of the Jolly Robin, attacking fat merchant ships carrying seeds. When Junco, the navigator of the Grosbeak intentionally hatches the captain's prized treasure egg, the ship gains one more crew member. Gabriel the gosling grows quickly and soon is as big as the ship itself. The crew does not quite know what to do with someone who eats twice as much as the rest of them. During a storm, the Grosbeak crashes in Teach the crow's territory, Blue Jay's evil cousin. They barely escape alive, but only after clipping their wings. With the help of local sparrows, Blue Jay and his crew must rescue their boat and save the sparrows from the twin threats of the crows next door and the Thrushian colonial authorities. Will this be Gabriel's chance to show his usefulness and earn his keep, or will he fly south with the other geese Renowned illustrator Scott Nash's first novel features a tale of animals that succeeds in being both an original and a page-turner. The main characters are well developed, and the world in which they dwell is fantasy as its best. Nash vividly illustrates many of the characters and the action, which adds to the quality of the book. Fans of Brian Jacques' Redwall series will love this story.--Etienne Vallee 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.

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