Avast! There’s more to a real pirate’s life than plunder and parties.
As in Who Wants To Be A Princess? (2017, illustrated by Migy), Heos contrasts romance with reality—but not in any particularly perceptive, or even accurate, way. Addressing readers whose idea of “pirate” starts and ends with the likes of Capt. Hook or Jack Sparrow, the equally fictional Capt. Parrot (a white human with a diverse crew) does present pirate food as wormy in good times and boiled boots in bad, and gives redolent new meaning to the term “poop deck” thanks to the livestock on board. But aside from drinking punch and having food fights, he barely alludes to actual piratical behavior or history. Duncan is no better, as he shows a cartoon crew firing anachronistic breech-loading cannons and then contradicting the narrative claim that victims are thrown overboard by providing them a boat and supplies. He also depicts a carpenter “surgeon” flourishing but not using a faintly discolored saw, leaves the captured captain being bundled aboard a paddy wagon rather than hanged, and offers a final view of an apparently uninhabited pirate ship sailing along. An afterword on the Golden Age of Piracy, capped by a bibliography, at least points to piracy’s less savory side.
Anemic fare for would-be buccaneers. (Picture book. 6-8)