Young Reader Review: Le retour du Capitaine Baboune by Michel Ouellette
Le retour du Capitaine Baboune
Author: Michel Ouellette
Illustrator: Réjean Roy
Boutons d’or Acadie
When Loïc decides to take a break from trying to learn how to ride his bike—or perhaps abandoning what seems to be a near-impossible task—he does not get the rest he expected. As he lies on the grass reading, he is taken away on an imaginative adventure.
He meets Portagne the dragon, who leads him away to the park. There they discover the Étoilenoire, the ship that belongs to Capt. Baboune (Captain Crankypants in English), perched in the upper branches of a tree.
At the sight of this old, abandoned boat, with its sails patched together, and strange noises coming from it, Loïc and Portagne decide to walk away. But a talking crow, Mélisse, grabs their attention. She convinces the friends to help the children aboard.
Loïc is familiar with the captain and ready to save the world from his latest nasty tricks. This time, Capt. Baboune has been kidnapping children during the night and locking them up in his ship. While the boy and his new-found friend hide in a closet, the ship is carried off by dark storm clouds.
The adventure has just begun and it already feels like a nightmare! When will they wake up? Will Loïc learn to ride his bike?
This book is lively, exciting, and invites children to imagine their own adventures. I recommend it for children eight years and above. The book is short; the story is easy to follow and amusing.
This is the third in a series of books featuring Loïc, his brother Arnaud, Portagne and Captain Crankypants, and children may want to read the previous books in order to understand the references. This is a good choice for French Immersion students in Grade 4 and up, as well as francophone elementary students.
Jo-Anne Elder has translated more than 20 works of poetry, theatre, film, fiction and non-fiction from French to English and has been shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award for translation three times. She and her husband, Aboriginal artist Carlos Gomes, live with their large family in Fredericton.