Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Pirate's Life For Me

End of a Pirate’s Day by ecstaticist, on FlickrI’ve been spending a lot of time with pirates lately. The virtual kind, on TV and iPad screens, and in the flesh. My two-year-old grandson is, well obsessed is not too strong a word, with all things pirate. The Disney cartoon show Jake and the Neverland Pirates is top choice every day for his allotted TV time. Thomas the Tank Engine and Caillou are consigned to his babyish past. For Halloween he dressed up as Jake, of course, and I had the pleasure of accompanying a little pirate around the neighborhood. We had to teach him to say “Trick or Treat” not “Yo, Ho, Ho.” He lagged behind his older brothers, a spy and Spiderman, but still managed to collect more candy than little pirate hands could carry. I console myself with the thought that Jake and the Neverland Pirates does have some redeeming value. The stories emphasize cooperation among friends to solve a problem, and at the end the pirates always count the gold doubloons they have earned for their treasure chest. My grandson counts along with them.

If there is a pirate obsessed child in your life here are some books you can find in the children’s section of the library:
  • Shiver Me Timbers by Douglas Florian is a collection of poems perfect to read aloud to the littlest pirates as they
    Shiver Me Timbers by Douglas Florian
    take in the lively accompanying paintings.
  • In Pirate Mom by Deborah Underwood a little boy’s mother is hypnotized into thinking she is a pirate. How can he change his Mom back? A Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award winner.
  • Eloise’s Pirate Adventure by Lisa McClatchy is perfect for little girls who aspire to the pirate life. Eloise dresses up as a pirate and goes on an adventure in search of treasure.
  • And don’t forget the classics Peter Pan and Treasure Island, both perfect for reading aloud a chapter at a time at bedtime.
How to be a Pirate by John Malam
  • Older children will enjoy Pirate by Richard Platt, one of the lavishly illustrated Eyewitness book series, and How to be a Pirate by John Malam.
You can find more children’s nonfiction books about pirates by exploring the shelves in the J910.45 section. And the children's librarians will be happy to recommend more pirate-themed fiction for specific ages.

There is some serious history behind the popular image of the swashbuckling pirate, some of it surprising. Quite how violent criminals of the past became beloved children’s characters is an interesting story in itself. (J.M. Barrie and Johnny Depp surely share some of the responsibility). Here is a sampling of some of the books for adults that explore this fascinating history:
Meanwhile I’m going to be watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates (or Ho Ho Pi as my grandson calls it) until he moves on to a new enthusiasm. But it has its uses. With some of my imaginary gold doubloons I purchased Jake the Pirate underwear as an incentive for potty training! 

Rita T.

Image: "End of a Pirate's Day" creative commons license by ecstaticist on Flickr

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