written and illustrated by Scott Nash
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Drop everything and go pre-order this book right now. I have an advanced reader copy and I've pre-ordered my hardcover copy and am already anxiously awaiting its arrival in September. I loved the story, cannot wait to see the full-color art considering how pleasing it is in black and white, and have been completely been won over by Nash's animal characters.
Blue Jay the Pirate is a blue jay. And he's a pirate of the skies. He and his crew of bird-pirates sail their pirate ship, the Grosbeak through the sky with the wind in their sails, looking for treasure. Blue Jay has a bit of a thing about eggs, and he steals and collects them and keeps them in a special hold in his ship. (Incidentally, "some of his crew had originated from eggs he collected...'The trouble with eggs,' Jay would often joke to his adopted offspring, 'is they sometimes grow legs!'") But times have changed and Jay is in search of different booty - "jewels, contraptions of all sorts, and anything metal or shiny." For old times' sake, though, he and his crew take aboard one more egg, which ends up hatching into a fuzzy, enormous (to them) gosling.
The ragtag band of pirates led by Blue Jay and accompanied by Gabriel the baby-goose pirate end up losing control of their ship and being captured by Teach the Crow and his group of bandits. After their flight wings are clipped, they end up in Briarloch, where sparrows have been trapped ever since migrating was outlawed and get help from Covey, Cyrus, Poppa Fox (who, despite his name, is a sparrow), and a star-nosed mole called Hillary.
Does all of this sound incredibly confusing? Fear not! It makes perfect pirate-sense and bird-sense. Nash masterfully ties up all the ends into a fantastic narrative. After foiling the plans of the rascally crows and regaining ownership of their ship (albeit in pretty bad shape), Blue Jay's crew (with a few new pirates from Briarloch aboard) sets sail once again, looking for a vacation and repair stop.
If you ever see a goose flying through the sky with what looks like a pirate ship behind it, it might just be Blue Jay the Pirate. Aye, sir!