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Melinda Long

Illustrator: David Shannon

Harcourt Children's Books

Recommended for: Ages 3 to 7.


Number of Pages: 44

List Price: $16.00

How I Became a Pirate
From Publisher's Weekly:
Landlubbers, take heart! Here's a tale of a lad who sets sail and finds he prefers the comforts of home. Equipped with pail and shovel, young Jeremy Jacob is happily constructing a sandcastle and moat when his day at the beach takes an unexpected turn. A ship sails in with a Jolly Roger raised on the mast, and the boy narrator runs to tell his parents. As with his No, David! and its sequels, Shannon plays off the straight text. "I tried to tell Mom, but she was busy slathering my baby sister with sunblock" inspires an illustration of the mother being assaulted by the infant (which also explains why she doesn't notice the boy's prolonged absence). When the crew hits the beach, they discover they're lost ("We must have taken a wrong turn at Bora Bora"), note Jeremy's skills with a shovel ("We've been needin' a digger like yourself. We've a chest of treasure to bury") and whisk the willing boy away. The buccaneers prove an agreeable lot at first, teaching him sea chanteys, pirate lingo and table manners ("Down the hatch!"; "Hand over the meat!"). But when bedtime rolls around (Shannon depicts a pillow fight in full swing), the pirates won't tuck him in ("No tucking!") or read him a story. The text's vigorous chorus-like repetitions invite aspiring maties to join in, and Long's dry, tongue-in-cheek humor serves as an ideal springboard for Shannon's gleefully madcap illustrations. The pirates are about as ragtag and dentally challenged a group of scurvy salts as ever sailed the high seas, and a clever visual surprise brings the shipboard adventure to a close. Ages 3-7.

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