Capitano Ricco
Rebecca Bell
Bouncing Ball Books (2005)
ISBN 9781934138069
Reviewed by Cayden (age 3.5), Max (age 19-months) Aures and Mom for Reader Views (4/08)

“Capitano Ricco” is a story about a boy named Richard who likes school and reading maps.  He dreams about being on a boat in the ocean, being a Captain, and being a pirate.  He sees fellow classmate Jennifer gazing at the map in the classroom with her own dreams of becoming “Capitana Jenna.”  As fate would have it the book ends with both of them grown up on a boat together.

The book is illustrated with simple colored pencil drawings and the text is handwritten.  On every other page there is a single illustration with a word below it.  On the side of that same page is a list of all of the words illustrated thus far so the list increases as the book goes on.

Cayden:  “It’s a pirate!  I like pirates!  Pirates say ‘Arrrr Mateys!’”

Max:  “Arrrr!”

Cayden:  “A life buoy is to keep them safe.”

Cayden:  “A porpoise is also called a dolphin.”

Cayden:  “When is he going to be a pirate?”

Cayden:  “X marks where the treasure is.”

Parent’s comments:
My children are fascinated with pirates so when I saw the cover of the book I thought it would be one that they would enjoy.  However, both of them got bored by the storyline three quarters of the way through the book.

The running word lists on the pages got to be a little confusing as well.  When you get toward the end of the book there is a picture of a sailboat in the middle and then about 15 other words surrounding the picture.  The book is for emergent readers and some of the words are a little questionable for young readers like “compass rose” and “porpoise.”   When I think of an emergent reader book I think of basic, commonly used words which this book did not have.

My children did like the simple illustrations, especially the ones where Richard was “Capitano Ricco” but other than that they really did not care for the book.  It did not hold their attention and after we read it once they did not want to look at it again.

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