Thursday, March 8, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: How I Became a Pirate

I am back after taking last week off to prepare for and celebrate my daughter's birthday. I spent hours in the kitchen and have to admit that I was beyond relieved when there were no more birthday celebrations left (don't tell her I said that).

So, back into the is my choice for Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: How I Became a Pirate
Author/Illustrator: Melinda Long/David Shannon
Publisher: Harcourt, 2003
Fiction or non-Fiction: Fiction
Audience age: 3 and up
Theme: Adventure, Imagination, Separation

Opening page: 
   "Pirates have green teeth -- when they have any teeth at all. I know about pirates, because one day, when I was at the beach building a sand castle and minding my own business, a pirate ship sailed into view.  I knew what it was, because its flag had a skull and crossbones on it and because I could hear the pirates singing, 'Hey, ho, blow the man down.' 
   They were a little off-key."

Synopsis: From School Library Journal, "Jeremy Jacob is building a sand castle when a pirate ship lands nearby. His parents are preoccupied with other chores, so he takes off for an adventure on the high seas to help the men bury their treasure chest. He learns that buccaneers don't bother with manners or bedtimes, which is just fine with him, but it also means no bedtime stories or being tucked in. He tries to teach the pirates to play soccer, at least until the ball gets swallowed by a shark. When a storm hits, forcing the crew to return to shore, Jeremy solves the dilemma of where to bury the treasure-in his own backyard. He even makes it home in time for soccer practice."

In addition to Harcourt's activity kit, which includes a word find, maze, coloring page, and thinking exercise, I found a wonderfully in-depth enrichment guide, which includes a section on stranger danger, made in support of the "How I Became A Pirate" show put on by First Stage, a theater company in Milwaukee, WI.

Why I like this book:
Pirates are fun.  Argh!  Parents everywhere will love to read this book aloud, just for the opportunity to talk like a pirate on a day other than International Talk Like A Pirate Day.  The story provides a fun-loving and amusing description of pirate life and the reasons why it might appeal to children like Jeremy Jacob.  While the pirates are wacky and entertaining, I love the reasons why Jeremy Jacob decides that pirate life is not for him after all.  Finally, David Shannon's over-the-top and rich illustrations are a perfect complement to this imaginative swashbuckling tale. 

For more Picture Perfect Books please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.


  1. Great review! I think I read this book in second grade! I really liked it. Did you know that there's a second book -Pirates don't change Diapers (I've not read it though). International pirate day is AWESOME. Last year I did my review on that day in all pirate talk :)

  2. I especially love the beginning of this book. David Shannon is awesome, my kid's get a big kick out of his illustrations. Thanks for the review Margaret and fun links. (How funny is International Talk Like a Pirate Day?)

  3. Oh we needed a good pirate tale for PPPF and here it is! I too love International pirate day.. aarrgh!

  4. Margaret, what a fun book! I love the opening as it truly sets the mood. Agree we need a pirate book. Love the kids imagination. Great resources!

  5. Well shiver me timbers, this is a fine pick for PPBF! Love pirates and love Melinda Long's perfect child voice.

  6. This looks like great fun. It's on my need to read list.

  7. My son will like this. Very fun activities too.

  8. Perfect book for little ones who don't like bedtime...but would miss the storytime and cuddling if there wasn't any. :) I love the activities also...will definitely try to get this book for my trip to NH in 3 year old grandson NEEDS it. :)

  9. I've seen this book a million times and never read it! one of these days I must, because it sounds like so much fun! Maybe I should just move into the library :) Thanks for sharing our first pirate title :)

  10. We have this one and it is a whole lot of fun to read aloud! An excellent addition to the PPBF lineup.

  11. Margaret, this book sounds like a lot of fun! The cover's illustration sets the mood for reading about pirates just right. Your review of the book makes want to go right out and get it.

  12. What an amazing adventure. I think (hope) my boys would also miss being tucked in too. Great choice.
    A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

  13. I'm back again, Margaret!
    I'm passing along two awards to you...the Kreativ Blogger and Sunshine Awards.
    I love your book reviews...they are such an important part of PPBF. :)