Tough Boris by Mem Fox illustrated by Kathryn Brown is a successful book on so many levels. Tough Boris is your average pirate. Not much to look at, he is tough, massive, scruffy and greedy, as are each of his crew. Each picture reinforces the description of both Tough Boris and his menacing mates. They engage in typical pirate activities, fighting, burying treasure and stealing from each other. When a violin and its case is stolen, Tough Boris seeks out revenge, but upon hearing the thief play, this scary pirate shows us his softer side. Then his parrot dies, the violin case is offered as a proper coffin and all the tough pirates cry and cry and cry. The young boy is expelled from the crew with the violin, another reason that makes them unhappy. Perhaps he brings too much sensitivity for the hardened crew and leaving him is the only solution for them to recapture their "Pirate ways".
The beautiful illustrations capture all the emotions of the moment. A great book to use about feelings, that even tough old pirate's can feel sorrow. While things or circumstances can make us sad, the company of our good friends helps with the burden. I love this book.
By Carole P. Roman