Reviews for Blackbeard

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 September

Gr 3-6--This oversize volume relates the dastardly doings of the infamous pirate Edward Teach. Coming of age during the "Golden Age of Piracy" (early 1700s) in the English port town of Bristol, he drew upon his natural bravado, energy, strength, and size to propel himself into the criminal life. Arriving in the Caribbean's pirate stronghold, he was soon put in command of his own ship and made his mark up and down the colonial North American coast as the plundering "Blackbeard," drinking cocktails of rum and gunpowder and inserting slow-burning hemp cords into his beard to frighten his enemies. Detailed narrative and conjectured conversation among Blackbeard, his shipmates, and their captured prisoners describe the pirate king's bold blockade of the city of Charleston, SC, in 1718. Similarly described is the violent battle off the North Carolina coast a few months later, in which a British navy vessel overpowered the Adventure and gruesomely killed its diabolical leader. Striking, realistic full-page color paintings alternate with sepia-tone drawings to bring Blackbeard and his world credibly to life; text printed on parchmentlike paper and skull-and-crossbones- patterned endpapers accentuate the setting. Some editorial weaknesses include a jarring change in point of view from third to second person, the occasional use of contemporary vernacular, and the absence of endnotes or maps to add historical context and credibility to this fact-based story. An additional purchase where there is demand for pirate lore.--Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT

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