Tough Boris Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-09-21 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

" A new favorite book about pirates by the beloved Mem Fox. Boris von der Borch is a tough, scruffy, greedy pirate - like all pirates. However, when his parrot dies, even this tough pirate cries. Great discussion about the emotions that we all share and the events that cause them, for the youngest audience. Beautiful watery illustrations embrace the setting of a pirate ship and carefully chosen words. Mem Fox has done it again. " said.

" This book has few words, but so much heart. When my children were little, I would sing them the Sesame Street song "It's Okay to Cry". This book has the same message.This book makes sweeping negative generalizations about pirates ( a launching point to discussing "making generalization, if you are a teacher), and then leads to the most sensitive conclusion. The faces on my first graders, when I reached the end... ...priceless. " said.

"This book was moving along nicely until the whole dead parrot part. I'm not quite sure what Fox was going for here, humor or pathos. Either way, it just took too strange and sad a turn for me, and I certainly couldn't imagine reading it aloud to a group of preschoolers for pirate story time, which is why I read this beforehand. I suppose it could work well for letting a kid know that even the people who seem the toughest still feel sad and cry sometimes, but I'm not sure that message will really come across well for a wide audience. But maybe that's just me..." said.

"This is a great example of a book that has a counterpoint relationship between the text and illustrations. The text tells the story of a greedy pirate who goes through a difficult experience, while the pictures have a hidden story about a boy and his violin. The way that the text and illustrations play off of each other adds an entire new level to the storyline. The illustrations are drawn from multiple angles and and positions allowing the reader to have a distant and yet intimate relationship with the different characters in the story. " said.

"In this book Mem Fox depicts the life of a pirate, who unexpectedly has real emotions and displays them. Tough Boris is good for teaching students repetition and predictability ("he was tough. All pirates are tough. He was massive. All pirates are massive. He was scruffy. All pirates are scruffy.") The illustrations in this book add color to the world of pirates. The colors that Kathryn Brown uses gives a lighter side to Tough Boris and the other pirates. It is almost as if Brown was depicting their emotions to us through the color scheme used." said.

"Master story-teller Mem Fox combinesd forces with illustrator Kathryn Brown to tell this marvelous, many-leveled story. Don’t let the simple and at times poignant details of Boris von der Borch distract you from the intricate tale waiting in the drawings.

As Lao Tzu reminds us, compassion is the ability to express an openness to other people’s hearts. Boris teaches us not to be distracted by the tough exterior of those around us. Tough or gentle, sports enthusiast or chess master, outgoing or quiet, all people feel sorrow and sadness—just as all people feel joy and love.
" said.


This was a very sweet book, and good for early readers. The simple and repetitive nature of the text would certainly assist early readers. There is about one sentence per page, and a great deal about pirates.

The best part of the story was clearly the end. While not a big surprise, per say, the theme of coping with grief and what is and isn't acceptable for "tough" people to do is particularly applicable to young boys. The art is good, and interesting, but not remarkable.

Likewise, the story was also very good, but not particularly remarkable. A great book for its topic, coping, but just an above average overall picture book.

" said.

" great use of repetition and i love that it is about a pet. " said.

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