Andrea Torrey Balsara, the illustrator behind my favourite Happy the Pocket Mouse series by Philip Roy (Ronsdale Press), has created her own lovable character in Greenbeard the Pirate Pig, a farming guinea pig entranced by the smell of the salty sea.  Greenbeard, so called because of the copious lettuce he eats which turns his beard a bright, leafy green, smells adventure and packs his bag with lettuce and carrots, dons his boots, a hat plumed with a lettuce leaf, his gardening belt into which he inserts a carrot sword (but not a sharp one because that would be dangerous), and heads to the shore…. Greenbeard is a delight, an innocent in search of adventure, hopeful of worldly voyages.  His intent is to explore the world and enjoy life, never to engage in the nefarious activities often associated with pirates….  Greenbeard the Pirate Pig is a delightful introduction to Andrea Torrey Balsara’s guinea pig pirate captain, [and will] charm young readers with cartoon characters and  characteristic long curvy lines amongst the whiskers, fur and landscape of her drawings….

~ Helen Kubiw, Canlit for Little Canadians

Greenbeard is hilarious…this story requires singing, a so-bad-it’s-so-good ditty about being  pirate. Even Greenbeard’s reluctant sidekick, a rat named Snug Rumkin (who looks suspiciously like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean) sticks his fingers in his ears to reduce the pain of the guinea pig’s rousing song. I read this story several times and cracked up laughing each time…. Greenbeard the Pirate Pig teaches children how some hard work and self-confidence can help them achieve their dreams–without ever saying those words. I love books that teach but don’t preach…

~ Aviva Gittle, The Gittle List 

What a magical story! From a heroic pirate to friendly animals, this enchanted story is funny, cute and entertains. The illustrations are colourful and lively–and incredibly well done across the book’s pages. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

~ A.C. Szul, Amazon Reviews

This is a wonderful, fanciful little story, (complete with a pirate song!), that is perfect for guinea pig lovers, and animal lovers of all kinds! Our children adore the tale of Greenbeard the Pirate Pig, (whose beard has turned green due to his lettuce-eating proclivities), and they love Snug Rumkin, the sailor rat, too. (Our son enjoyed this story so thoroughly that he actually named one of his stuffed animals after Snug Rumkin!) Crafted in a style that is part graphic novel and part fairy tale, Andrea Torrey Balsara has done a fabulous job of capturing the spirit of the inspired explorer through Greenbeard the Pirate Pig. Even when faced with the pragmatism and cynicism of others, Greenbeard always maintains an indomitable spirit and a persevering outlook. Our family eagerly awaits Greenbeard’s next voyage, and we’ll be keeping a lookout for the sequel!

~ Leila Merle, Poet 

I found the book absolutely delightful. More importantly, the 4-yr old I was reading it with immediately said, ‘Read it again!’ That response is the definitive sign he enjoyed the book. He particularly loved the song and thought the carrot being a sword was hilarious. The illustrations are inventive and make the fun story even more enjoyable. We look forward to many more adventures with the guinea pig turned pirate.

~ Donna Provance, Children’s Author

Written and illustrated by the author, Greenbeard the Pirate Pig by Andrea Torrey Balsara is a rollicking good time for the pre-school set. With great illustrations of Greenbeard the Pirate who is actually a guinea pig, Snug Rumkin ( a rat) and their ship the Golden Lettuce, young ones are sure to be entertained. Greenbeard eats so much lettuce, his beard has started to turn green, he then envisions himself as a pirate and strikes off on an adventure when he finds an abandoned ship nearby. He plucks a piece of lettuce from his ample stash, sticks it in his hat like a feather and goes off to travel and have adventures. The carrot used as a sword is brilliant as well. With just enough text to create a simple story, a song at the end and endearing art, this is a completely cute and entertaining book for little kids. Highly recommended.

~ V.E. Amazon Reviews

An adventure to be had for sure! With the great illustrations and humorous prose, Greenbeard will bring joy to the children and leave them wanting more. Although the vocabulary is somewhat advanced, the children won’t miss a beat because of the funny and charming illustrations. Loved it!

~ Melissa Abbott, Amazon Reviews


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