Reviews for Pirates

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
These twenty poems acknowledge that pirate life is not all swashbuckling fun. Regardless, pirate aficionados will get their fill of shivering timbers and "scurvy mates...rotten through and through." The poems scan well, and the realistic-looking illustrations are aptly dark-hued and moody. An author's note tells more about real pirates. Bib. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 August #1
Methinks the introduction doth protest too much. From the start Harrison attempts to deglamorize the piratical life with cold hard facts and sentences like, "The life of a pirate was not fun." Says you! As Burr's deeply realistic and heavily detailed paintings soon attest, piracy makes for exciting subject matter. Twenty poems in this collection detail every aspect of those scurvy lads' lives, from the terrible food and flogging to the fights and captures that went with the job. In giving a bit of realism to the subject matter, the poems can get downright brutal; a pirate youngling grunts--"Unh!"--with each lash of the "Cat-O'-Nine-Tails" as he regrets his rule-breaking. Yet while Harrison's poetry scans, his poems range from free verse to erratic rhymes (as when he rhymes "endure" with "yours" in "Ship's Rules"). Child readers will come for the subject matter, and they'll stay for the lush art. A section at the end offers additional information on what an average pirate's life would have been like. (bibliography) (Poetry. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 June

Gr 3-6--Large realistic paintings work with 20 narrative poems to describe the nitty-gritty details of pirate life. Nothing is sugarcoated. One young man is shown tied to a post, subjected to a whipping with a cat-o'-nine-tails. "Why is it always me?/Shouldn't a broke a rule…." The young man's face and body are tensed for the expected and dreaded pain. In another piece called "Trouble," a sunburned and tattooed crew member wonders if maybe he's about to be robbed of his share of the plunder. In "Captured," two pirates are shown in shackles, facing the hangman's noose. The final poem ends, "Farewell, then./I go to settle/for my sins." Burr's illustrations do a fine job of conveying the emotions of each poem and of showing the details of dress and shipboard life. An afterword further explains the unromantic world of piracy. This is a good choice for reading aloud in classrooms studying the topic, or for children interested in the real world of pirates.--Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI

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