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Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
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Cover Art: Violet and the Mean and Rotten Pirates
Violet and the Mean and Rotten Pirates
By Richard Hamilton
Illustrated by Sam Hearn
Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2003, ISBN 1-58234-866-9, $6.95
The pirates hope the spotted prize will change their miserable luck and bring them good fortune. When they board the ship, though, they discover that other pirates have already plundered her. Everything is gone except a baby and a small chest. Normally, pirates will have nothing to do with a baby, but their captain decides that if the chest contains treasure, they will adopt the lad and raise him to be just like them--a mean and rotten pirate.

Needless to say the chest does contain treasure, so the pirates take it and the baby back to their ship. Only then do they discover that the lad is a girl! Now females are bad luck aboard ships, as any pirate well knows, but a promise is a promise. They name her Violet, Vile for short, and teach her everything a pirate needs to know: the parts of the ship, finding her sea legs, the daily routine, how to use a knife, how to sail, and when to drink tea.

Vile brings the pirates luck and over the years everything goes well until she discovers a new treasure--books! Corky the cook teaches her to read and soon she begins to wonder what it's like to live ashore. Knowing the dangers that await them on land, the pirates are reluctant to grant Vile's wish, but she's brought them luck in the past and perhaps that streak will continue.

Although this book of twelve chapters is written for children, anyone will delight in reading it. Humor abounds throughout. Adults may figure out the ending, but that doesn't detract from the story. The piratical aspects of the story are based on facts, making the adventure believable. All who read Vile's tale will finish the book with a smile on their face--guaranteed!

Book Review Copyright 2003 Cindy Vallar

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Violet and the Mean and Rotten Pirates

"There's one thing I do not want to see," the Pirate Captain told the crew as the ship slipped through the dark night. "Only one thing"

He curled his lip and sucked in noisily. "And that isbbb"

The crew waited. Several of them tilted their heads to one side. They knew what he was trying to say. But could he say it?

"Bbb" went the Captain. His face grew red, his eyes grew wild.

The crew looked at their feet. They studied the sails above them. They peered into the dirty ears of the pirate in front. They did not want to laugh. If they laughed, the Pirate Captain might explode with fury and they were frightened of that. So they waited as the Captain worked himself up to THE WORD. He took a deep breath and tugged his beard.

"This is a raid. We sail up abroadsides and board 'em. We capture the crew and passengers. You can pull their noses. You can twist their arms. You can stamp on their toes. You can tickle 'em, steal all their things. You can be rude and 'orrible and disgusting, but I don't want to see any bb"

"Blindfolds?" suggested a voice. "Backflips?"

"BLOOD!" spluttered the Captain. "I can't stand the sight of BLOOD!" His wild eyes swept across them. There was silence.

"Oh. All right, then," squeaked a pirate at the back.

The Pirate Captain glared at the crew's faces. Were they laughing at him? "Take your positions!" he barked. He felt better now that he had said THE WORD.

Excerpt Copyright 2003 Richard Hamilton

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