Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Pirate Apprentices and Young Adults
Jack is a cabin boy aboard the Sea Serpent, a two-masted merchantman loaded with cargo. Many tasks fill his day, from learning to tie knots to feeding the chickens and goat that provide fresh meat and eggs. But sailing the seas in the early 18th century can be treacherous, for pirates lurk everywhere. When Captain Barton spies a distant flag, the crew’s worst fears are realized. They bravely battle the pirates, but the rogues, led by Captain Barracuda, overwhelm them and seize the vessel. When offered the choice between joining the pirates and following the captain into a rowboat, many of the sailors opt for the former. Jack attempts to go with Captain Barton, but Barracuda forces him to serve as his cabin boy and live among the pirates. Rescue comes during a storm that wrecks the pirate ship and only Jack survives. But is he truly safe? What happens when the navy finds him? Will they take him home or will they clap him in irons? Will he be tried, convicted, and hanged for piracy?
Pirate Ship is not an ordinary book, but a three dimensional vessel that allows the reader to step back in time and read about Jack’s adventures whiling building masts, hoisting sails, and defending the ship against the dreaded scourge of the sea. When first seen, this book is a sturdy, cardboard box with a jeweled clasp. Once you release the clasp, the book folds out to become a ship. One side presents the interior of the vessel, while the other is how she appears from the water. Inside there are two collectible pirate figures, a 24-page book, and more than 40 press-out models to make. The instructions for assembling the “History in Action” set are found in the book. They combine episodes illustrating Jack’s adventures with step-by-step instructions on what and how to assemble the pieces. Intertwined with the story are facts about pirates.
The intended audience is eight years of age and older, but even I had a bit of trouble getting some individual characters to stand once I inserted them into the bases. The book contains a few historical errors – such as the inclusion of a crow’s nest which wasn’t found on ships until the 19th century, or calling a vessel with two masts a ship when it is really a boat – but these are minor and never detract from the recounting of Jack’s tale. Only those well versed in wooden sailing ships and pirate history will even notice these faux pas.Through vivid illustrations and well-written text, children will have hours of fun with this pirate adventure. Once they know the story, they can create their own tales. One of the most valuable aspects of this book is the ship itself. Unless you live near a wooden sailing vessel, you rarely have the opportunity to go below decks and explore. Pirate Ship allows you to do just that! This book combines great fun with an opportunity to learn, while working aboard a ship where you don’t have to worry about getting seasick. Just don’t forget about the pirates!
Book Review Copyright ©2007 Cindy Vallar
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