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The Picture Book Buzz

Cap'n Rex & His Clever Crew - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF Plus a Giveaway

Who doesn't like dinosaurs? Or Pirates? What about Dinosaur Space Pirates? Too much . . . well then you'll be glad to know this book is just about Dinosaur Pirates.

Cap'n Rex & His Clever Crew

Author: Henry Herz

Illustrator: Benjamin Schipper

Publisher: Sterling Children's Books (2017)

Ages: 4 and up



Dinosaurs, pirates, creativity, and problem solving.

Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble):

Shiver me timbers! It's the DINOSAUR PIRATES!

Meet Captain Rex and his band of buccaneers. These dinosaur pirates sail the seven seas in search of buried treasure, but whenever they hit an obstacle—like a giant shark or pea-soup fog—the crew members are quick to say they can’t overcome. To this, Captain Rex just glares with teeth bared and says, “CAN’T YE?” And, somehow, the crew always comes up with a clever solution. A delightful story about using one’s creativity and individual strengths to solve problems. It will encourage kids everywhere to think and say, “I can!”

Opening lines:

Captain Rex and his dinosaur pirates sailed the Seven Seas. "Arrr. Let's plunder some buried treasure," said Rex.

"Aye, Cap'n," bellowed his big buccaneers.


What I like about this book:

I enjoyed the use of shortened names - Pat (for perhaps Apatosaurus), Terry (Pterodactyl) and Kyle (Ankylosaurus) - it makes it easier to read aloud. By not specifying the actual dinosaurs, Henry and Benjamin supply the dinosaur crazy kids an "inside" joke and perhaps spurs others to do some research. Bet they all know who Rex is.

As the dino-pirates encounter various obstacles - a Megalodon, dense fog, or an erupting volcano - a simple refrain ("Rex glared with teeth bared. "Can't ye?") spurs the buccaneers to figure out and use their own individual strengths and successfully located a chest of treasure.

The crew also learns to work together, to guarantee they all get a share of the treasure. The book's focus on creative problem solving and using one's strengths and abilities (versus brute force) makes it a treasure of its own. It's a great mash-up of perennial favorites. With an almost cartoonish quality and big, bold colors, Schipper brings the dinosaur pirates and their world to life. Herz even included a pirate glossary on the end pages, for kids you want to expand their pirate knowledge and vocabulary.


- expand your dinosaur knowledge at National Geographic's dinosaur quiz (

- or learn about dinosaurs at

- create a pirate boat for your dinosaurs OR other pirates (

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Reminder: Comment here or on Henry Herz's interview on Monday, July 31st for a chance to win a free book.

To find out more about Henry Herz, or get in touch with him:

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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