100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Cover Reveal: PIRASAURS! by Josh Funk, Illustrated by Michael Slack

If someone did a Best Read-Alouds of 2015 list (man, why didn’t I do that list?) Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast would have been on my list. That book was written by Josh Funk. Now Josh has a new book on the horizon (with illustrator Michael Slack) and I’m pleased to share a first look at the cover today. Take it away guys!

Josh: Nearly 3 years ago, in a pitch black room, in the middle of the night, I woke up and wrote the single most important text message of my life containing one silly word:


I sent this text to myself because I was an inexperienced writer who hadn’t yet learned the importance of keeping a pen and paper on my bedside table. A few months, several drafts, and some magically fortunate circumstances later, this manuscript ended up on the desk of one of Scholastic’s most talented editors.

Michael: When Scholastic approached me to illustrate Pirasaurs!, they described the book as  “a rambunctious, laugh-out-loud story featuring dinosaurs that are also pirates,” it sounded like a perfect match. The manuscript brought so many fun visual ideas to mind, it was easy to say yes. While I was reading the manuscript the wild rumpus sequence from Where the Wild Things Are came to mind. The small main character interacting with huge, menacing creatures on the confined space of the page creates a wonderful visual tension. I wanted the illustrations of Pirasaurs! to have a similar tone.

Josh: For nearly every story I write, one of my intentions is that it will be something fun to see illustrated. And Michael’s illustrations have always been fun to the core. But he’s outdone himself with Pirasaurs! – it’s action packed with buccaneering beasts, treacherous treasure hunts, mutiny, and more – what I hope will make a great read aloud.

Michael: I did more sketches for Pirasaurs! than I usually do.  Mainly because it was so much fun to draw pages and pages of different types of dinosaurs in goofy hats, wielding swords. Ultimately I ended up with source material for three versions of the dummy.

Josh: Well, that material Michael came up with will blow you out of the water. He added an entire subplot that was never in the text – but frankly, I can’t imagine the book without it.

Michael: A challenging yet thoroughly enjoyable part of the process for the book was creating the visual sub-plot that carries through the story. There are many visual details that readers can discover over multiple readings.

Josh: Even just on the cover! Captain Rex has a Peg-Tail! And I seriously want a t-shirt with that dino-skull and cross bones. But never mind me, check it out for yourselves!

Pirasaurs! will be published by Scholastic August 30, 2016.


From the Publisher:

They’re pirates. They’re dinosaurs? They’re Pirasaurs!

We’re Pirasaurs!
We’re Pirasaurs!
We rule the open seas!
We’ll cannon-blast you to the past!
We do just what we please!

Meet the Pirasaurs, a ragtag team of seasoned pirate dinosaurs looking for adventure and treasure! There’s fearsome Captain Rex, golden-toothed Velocimate, one-eyed Bronto Beard, and more fearsome, buccaneering beasts….as well as one new recruit who may be small, but who’s eager to prove he can learn the ropes and find his place on the team. But when a trap is set upon the Pirasaurs while looking for buried treasure, it’s up to the littlest recruit to show the team that there’s more to a Pirasaur than meets the eye patch!

Josh Funk is the author of Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, as well as the forthcoming picture books Dear Dragon (Viking/Penguin 2016) and more.

Michael Slack is the author/illustrator of Monkey TruckElecopterWAZDOT? and the forthcoming picture books Bunny Built (Henry Holt 2017) and Shorty & Clem (Harper-Collins 2017).

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Josh, essential question: when will the book be out? Looking forward to seeing it on the shelves!

  2. Emma, official release date is August 30th, 2016. Rawrgh!!

  3. This looks FABULOUS! Can’t wait (but I have to! POUT) to get it!

  4. What did one Piarasaur say to the other?
    ARRawgh you ready for Aug 30th?

  5. Delightful! Am looking forward to this book’s release. Well done.

  6. The peg-tail! Hilarious! Congrats on what looks to be another exceptionally enjoyable book!

  7. Love it! And more importantly, my kidlet would too. =) Looking forward to another Funk pb!

  8. Such talent all around! Congrats Josh and Michael!

  9. WOW! Everything about this book–the verse, the artwork, the ideas, a subplot=F.U.N.!!! Congratulations to both Josh and Michael for PIRASAURS!

  10. Yay Josh and MIchael! This looks fantastic — I expect big things for this book.