In Jorge Gonzalez’s new wordless graphic novel, Captain Barbosa and the Pirate Hat Chase, a pirate and his crew sail the seas to find the captain’s lost hat. Using a mixture of soft pastels and colored pencils, Gonzalez has created a story that flows from one panel to the next, without skipping a beat. No words are needed to tell this tale of adventure, which young readers will indeed enjoy.

Captain Barbosa and his animal crew, which consists of a fly, an alligator, and an elephant, are on an ocean voyage when a seagull flies by and takes his hat. Annoyed and embarrassed about his bald head, the captain instructs his crew to follow the feathery thief. Along the way they stumble upon a friendly cyclops, rolling waves, and an island occupied by numerous seagulls. But when the crew finally catches up with the thief, they soon discover the reason behind his actions.

Gonzalez has created a fun story with unique characters and a charming twist ending. His choice to exclude any words within the graphic novel works very well. The reader will be able to follow along with the tale by the actions of the characters and the scene changes. Action flows from panel to panel, whether it is traveling through a storm to investigating new lands, keeping the pace. Gonzalez’s choice of art style, pastels with colored pencils, enhances the story with colorful scenery and soft textures. There are close up scenes of characters, with readable expressions and details that keep the story going. The tale itself is humorous at first, but becomes a tale of kindness that readers can appreciate. No dialogue or narration is needed with Gonzalez’s colorful creation.

Wordless graphic novels are a must for all graphic novel collections because they provide a different means of storytelling for young readers. For this reason, along with its creative art style and entertaining story, Captain Barbosa and the Pirate Hat Chase is a great choice for both public and school libraries. Give this title to young readers in grades 2nd-4th and they will want to read it over and over again.

Captain Barbosa and the Pirate Hat Chase
By Jorge Gonzalez
ISBN: 9781541541542
Lerner Publishing Group, 2019

  • Gloria

    | She/Her Children's Librarian, Elmont Memorial Library

    Gloria is a full-time children’s librarian at the Elmont Memorial Library in Long Island, New York where she runs a monthly STEAM program, a graphic novel book club, and storytime for preschoolers. During her free time, she is found reading anything and everything from the classics, to poetry, to the newest best seller. Her other interests include writing, online games, exploring new areas in her home state, and spending time with friends, family, and colleagues. She has also written articles and reviews for the website Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries and on her personal Goodreads page.

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