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Children's Fiction Humorous Stories

Small Saul

illustrated by Ashley Spires

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2011
Humorous Stories, Pirates, Friendship
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2012
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2011
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
  • Reading age: 3 to 7


From the creator of Binky the Space Cat, a hilarious story about an unconventional little pirate.

Ahoy there! Will this sweet little pirate find his place aboard The Rusty Squid or will he be forced to walk the plank?

When Small Saul joins the crew of The Rusty Squid, it doesn't take long for the other pirates to notice something is very different about this tiny fellow. He was born to sing sea shanties, bake pineapple upside down cakes and redecorate, not to hold a sword and plunder. Being rough and tough just isn't in his nature.

Small Saul learned at Pirate College that pirates only care about three things: their ship, being tough and lots and lots of treasure. Can Small Saul show these ruffians that despite his gentle spirit, he's worth his weight in gold? With treasure chests of laughs, Small Saul's high-seas adventure is a light-hearted celebration of individuality, perseverance and being true to one's self.

About the author


Ashley Spires est diplômé de l'Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design. Artiste touche à tout, elle a créé des sites Internet, des livres et des marionnettes. Elle est auteure et illustratrice de plusieurs livres dont Quel génie!, la série Basile le chat de l'espace,Petit Paul, Chien recherche garçon et André est débordé. Ashley a également illustré Le Labo des malins par Shar Levine et Leslie Johnstone. Elle vit à Delta, en Colombie-Britannique.


Ashley Spires earned her BFA at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and went on to earn a graduate diploma in illustration from Sheridan College. She is also the illustrator of Binky the Space Cat. Ashley lives in British Columbia, but you can find her at

Ashley Spires' profile page


  • Commended, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, Canadian Library Association
  • Short-listed, Shining Willow Award, Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Award
  • Winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens , Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Short-listed, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Short-listed, Blue Spruce Award, Ontario Library Association

Editorial Reviews

... delightful book.—The Globe & Mail

... there's plenty of raucous entertainment to keep pirate-lovers happy.—Publishers Weekly

... Spires' piratical misfit fulfills his potential in a way that is genuinely endearing and hilarious.—Quill & Quire

Spires' tale of an unconventional pirate might travel familiar ground, but her dry humor, so wonderfully displayed in the Binky graphic novels, elevates Saul to great heights. The cartoon watercolor illustrations are always hilariously at odds with the understated text. Charrrh-ming.—Kirkus Reviews

Librarian Reviews

Small Saul

You can’t help adoring Small Saul. Too diminutive for Naval College, he settles for the less discriminating but also less prestigious Pirate College in order to pursue his lifelong love of the sea. On his first pirate ship, The Rusty Squid, he eagerly sets about his duties. Decorating pirates’ sleeping quarters, applying scary rabbit tattoos, cooking delicious food and providing breath fresheners to cover the smell of rotting teeth keep him busy but, disappointingly, unappreciated. When the crew tosses him overboard in disgust, it seems to be all over for Saul. But as time passes, the pirates begin to miss the comforts he once provided and, realizing his worth, hurry back to rescue him.

Sepia-toned ink and watercolour artwork by award-winning author / illustrator Ashley Spires provide a perfect background for her characters. Pirates with angular bottoms and heads, looking slightly too vacuous to be really scary, curious seagulls and a peg-legged captain are all part of Saul’s world. Absurd humour bubbles out from every page, and the myriad fanciful details slyly hidden in the illustrations will have children chuckling as they pore over the pictures.

There can never be too many pirate books for preschoolers and this quirky story about an unlikely hero is certain to prove popular. Small Saul is an attractive, understated, humorous book with an astute message. Children will identify with Saul who is his own man, a talented non-conformist with an unquenchable personality who refuses to allow life’s reversals to get in the way of his dreams.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2011. Volume 34 No. 3.

Small Saul

Being too short to join the Navy, Small Saul enrolls in Pirate College and becomes a crew member on the Rusty Squid. His unconventional ways get him thrown overboard, but the rough crew of the Rusty Squid soon realize they miss the little fellow. With treasure chests full of laughs, this book is a lighthearted celebration of individuality and proof that good things come in small packages.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.

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