Rufus Goes to Sea – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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rufusTitle: Rufus Goes to Sea

Written by: Kim T. Griswell

Illustrated by: Valeri Gorbachev

Published by: Sterling Children’s books, April, 2015

Themes/Topics: pirates, pigs, adventure, reading & writing, stereotypes

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Sequel to Rufus Goes to School


Rufus Leroy William III loved going to school.
He loved reading.
He loved writing.
He loved playtime and naptime and storytime.
But one day, Rufus found the school door locked.


With school closed for the summer vacation, Rufus Leroy William III (the most perfect name for a pig) decides that the next best thing he loves to be besides a student is a pirate, so he heads down to the docks where perchance the pirate ship is hiring. But when Rufus applies he gets turned down. Captain Wibblyshins says NO PIGS ON PIRATE SHIPS! the captain has very specific requirements for his crew and it is well known, ahem, that pigs get tangled in the rat lines, they picnic in the crow’s nest, and they even wipe their chins with the Jolly Roger! Rufus makes multiple hilarious attempts to get hired until he has to start thinking outside the box at what the pirates really need not what they think they need.

Why I like This Book:

Plenty of pirate speak and silly pirate names help this story skip through to a very satisfactory ending, totally in character with Rufus. As I am presently job-hunting, I was also amused by the hints at prejudice and perceived needs in an employer and the skill of an employee pitching to his strengths!

Valeri Gorbachev’s illustrations are lively and humorous full of intense color, activity and emotion. The woman in the Pirate’s Wolrd store also reminds me a lot of the big cats-lover in Valeri’s recent picture book, CATS ARE CATS.


  • Check out the interview I did this year with the illustrator, Valeri Gorbachev.
  • Discussion on stereotypes –  maybe have children make a list of what would be stereotypical features of another animal such as a cat or a dog.
  • Flashlight Worthy has a great list of other pirate picture books here.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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7 Responses to Rufus Goes to Sea – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. I’m excited! A new book illustrated by VG! And you can’t go wrong with pigs and pirates! Still have my fingers crossed for your job search!

  2. Heather Dent says:

    I can totally relate to the whole job searching business! It sounds like I need to read this book. I really could use a laugh!

  3. Manju Howard says:

    I like picture books that adults as well as children relate to. Thanks for sharing!

  4. How cute, a persistent pirate pig. 🙂 And you are right – that is a great name for him. Good luck on the job search!

  5. Need more books on stereotypes. Love the pig’s wonderful and silly name. He certainly is persistent – good quality for kids to see. Sounds like this book will be read many times. Enjoyed the interview with VG.

  6. This makes me want to sing “I am a Pirate Pig!” Tara-tara…. What fun.

  7. Wendy Greenley says:

    Another book that I need to read for a comp title! Thank you for sharing it–it’s impossible to keep up with everything on the market. Good luck with the ongoing job hunt. 🙂

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