Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Pirate Apprentices and Young Adults
One day not so long ago, a pirate, who visits hospitals to entertain children, asked an artist friend to draw a picture for his young audience to color. Talented artist that he is, Gregory Edmonds drew one picture and then another and another until an idea sparked – much like what happens when a pirate places a slow match to a gun’s touch hole to fire on a rich treasure ship. To whet young appetites with “a life-long interest in learning, vocabulary, and imagination” Mr. Edmonds offers up the first in what he hopes will become a series of books where youngsters can read alone or with their parents. (5) What better way to entice more boys and girls into our scurvy ranks of pirate apprentices than with a book about real pirates?
Within the covers of this fact-filled activity book, ye be learning about pirate history and notorious sea dogs like Bartholomew Roberts, Blackbeard, Anne Bonny, Barbarossa, Sir Francis Drake, and Sir Henry Morgan. There be “Color Me” pages that depict pirates and the tools of our trade: a ship, weapons, and a possibles bag for example. (If ye not be knowing what that last item is, reading the book be a good way to find the answer.) There is also a Pirate Treasure Maze (with a twist) and a Word Puzzle (to see if ye might make a good lookout for spying those galleons laden with pieces of eight). If ye dare, try answering the quiz, Fact or Tall Tale? (If ye get stuck, the answers be found near the end of the book.) For pirates having special days, your parents can be after studying all about hosting a Pirate Party. If there be a word ye don’t understand, look it up in a glossary of pirate words. (Ye might be interested in learning more about Mr. Edmonds on the facing page.) Ye can also explore words ye might hear every day, but that originally belonged to those of us who sail the seas in Do You Talk Like a Pirate?
A few statements might have some readers scratching their heads. Port Royal is a city on an island, but is not an island itself. (8) Blackbeard, or Edward Thache, served as a privateer under Queen Anne, rather than Queen Elizabeth, and instead of all the citizens of Charles Town, ‘twas a select few whom he held for ransom when he blockaded the South Carolina port. (13-14, 17)*
This book be great fun to read, learn, and do. Being the pirates’ scrivener for nearly a score of years, my peepers be not as sharp as they once were and I commend Mr. Edmonds for his use of white space and BIG print. Both make the pages easy to read. His suggestion to copy (or trace) the Color Me and puzzle pages is an excellent suggestion since it allows pirate apprentices to use them again and again. (For young pirates with less dexterity, ye might enlarge the Color Me pages so they can color within fine lines.) Another noteworthy tidbit be the sentence in his Notes for Parents: “Pirates were outlaws, thieves, and (sometimes) killers.” (4) This truth be often omitted from pirate books for children and causes a dilemma for parents. Mr. Edmonds provides discussion topics that can help to resolve this.
The REAL Story of Pirates be written for youngsters of at least nine years; in truth, ’tis a book pirates of all ages who like to color and learn will enjoy. Even I found a few treasures, such as the intriguing origins of eating with me elbows on the table. Me favorites were the puzzles; they be challenging, but not overly so.
This book is a wonderful and entertaining introduction to pirates. The narrative doesn’t talk down to children; together with the puzzles and coloring, it entices one’s curiosity. The REAL Story of Pirates is a great way for parents and children to learn and read together.
*Please note that after the publication of this review, Mr. Edmonds has corrected these errors.
Review Copyright ©2019 Cindy Vallar
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