How I Became A Pirate tells the story of a typical soccer-playing elementary schooler who, on a trip to the sea shore with his family, runs into Braid Beard and his comical crew. Jeremy Jacob sails off with the rogues and soon finds out that not brushing your teeth or taking a regular bath aren't as much fun as he thought they would be. The follow up book, Pirates Don't Change Diapers, introduces little sister Bonnie Anne. Get it?
Next is Roger the Jolly Pirate, the first pirate-themed book I ever bought for the young. I love the well drawn cast of piratical characters in this one - from a Barbary version to a very Jean Laffite-esque dandy to a disguised woman. Here we follow the bumbling exploits of Roger who eventually - through no intent of his own - saves his ship from the Royal Navy. Then, guess what the pirates name after him.
My very favorite of the bunch is Jean Laffite and the Big Ol Whale by Frank G. Fox and Scott Cook (whose artwork from the book appears above). The story is a tall tale in the historic American style, following young Jean from mysteriously orphaned baby to teenage rescuer of a whale stranded in the Mississippi. At the end he digs Lake Pontchartrain for the whale to spend time in. The only thing missing is a blue ox (to be played, I have to imagine, by Jean's stout older brother Pierre). Great for critters of all ages.
And don't ever think I'd forget the girls. The Pirate Meets the Queen is my redhead's favorite. It tells the story of Grainne NiMalley (Grace O'Malley to you English), the Pirate Queen of Ireland, meeting with Elizabeth I of England to request release for her imprisoned son. Both women are historical figures, of course, and the book is a great jumping off point for exploration of the "were there girl pirates?" question. Yes, Virginia; there were.
There's something wonderful about the idea of being a pirate and, in this world, a little something to spark the imagination goes a long, long way. Nothing does that quite like books.
Sailor Mouth Saturday tomorrow. See you then, mates!