Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Pirate Apprentices and Young Adults
Pirates! They’ve been around for centuries, but they have one thing in common – they steal from ships at sea. This latest entry in the Inside Out series explores Caribbean pirates and their ship from 1690 to 1730.
Colorful double-page spreads are jam-packed with historical tidbits and artifacts in full color, but the centerpiece of each is the ship. Although many different types of vessels were mentioned, the one spotlighted throughout the book is the brig. On the left-hand side is a silhouette, on the right, the exterior hull, masts, and sails. Each successive pair of pages highlights a particular aspect of the inside of the brig on the silhouette, while the exterior shot provides a cut-away glimpse from the outside in. This allows readers to see the same section of the vessel from two different perspectives at the same time.
The book explores eight separate themes: pirates and the exterior of their ships; symbols of fear (their flags); pirate captains; plunder; food and drink; the great guns (cannons); who’s who on a pirate ship; and setting sail. Yet these are broad subjects that often include far more information than pirate apprentices might expect. For example, the answer to “Why become a pirate?” includes the fact that discontented sailors were not the only people who turned to piracy. What’s particularly delightful is the inclusion of details rarely mentioned in other books. One example shows where the Jolly Roger was flown on a pirate ship. Two other samples discuss the possible origin of “feeling blue” and where pirates go to the bathroom on the brig. Equally important is the fact that pirates aren’t glorified; instead, Beck portrays the reality rather than the legend – a refreshing change from many accounts written for young pirates between the ages of seven and twelve.
Another feature of interest is that comparisons are provided in terms that young pirates will easily relate to. Instead of saying the mainmast is so many feet high, Beck likens the height to a building with ten floors. All information is presented in easy-to-understand language, and if a word or expression is unfamiliar, it’s explained. For example, do you know that a chicken egg was sometimes referred to as “cackle-fruit?” Plunder, of course, is discussed in all pirate books, but few remember to share that ships themselves could be part of the pirates’ treasure or provide specific examples of such plunder. This book does.
Inside Out: Pirate Ship may be a short book at only sixteen pages, but it’s as rich in treasure as Black Sam Bellamy’s Whydah Galley. This treasure trove may be intended for pirate apprentices, but even full-fledged pirates will find this both a fantastic introduction to pirate life and a wonderful way to refresh what you know about these scalawags.
Book Review Copyright ©2020 Cindy Vallar
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