Arr! ’Tis a bonny day indeed when piratical inclinations are recorded with such florid nastiness as that found in this stellar collection of seagoing poems for salty dogs.
“A pirate’s life is topsy-turvy, / Full of strife, and rife with scurvy.” Don’t believe a word of it. With Florian presenting the true life of pirates, from endless days of seafood (“If we have fish for one more day / Methinks that I will puke”) to general information (“We’re rude, crude dudes with attitudes”), it’s hard to imagine a pirate poetry book half as much fun as the one conjured up here. It helps that along with being amusing, the poems are actually informative as well. Kids learn a variety of terms in “Pirate Patter,” run through a virtual pirate thesaurus (from “buccaneers” to “salt sea-robbers”) in “Names for Pirates,” decipher what symbols mean in “Pirate Flags,” and are instructed in the difference between a privateer and a buccaneer in “Rule of the Pirate.” Bouncy verse is ably complemented by Neubecker’s pitch-perfect art. His nasty (yet nicely multicultural and including both genders) rovers are always dirty, always wild and clearly having fun on every page.
It’s not a stretch to say that if Shel Silverstein himself were to have dabbled in the piratical he could not have come up with a better selection of scurvy doggerel than the delicious verses found here. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)