The traditional Clement Clarke Moore Christmas poem gets a swashbuckling twist in this picture book.
The crew members have their boots hung up in the galley and the captain is about to settle in when the ship’s tailor, the poem’s narrator, hears a “clatter” over the waves. It’s One-Eye Redbeard. A disgusting version of Santa, One-Eye arrives at the pirate ship in his own barge pulled by eight sharks (with outlandishly rhyming names). One-Eye wears a shirt, shorts, and sneakers and has a scarred face, a disgusting and possibly moldy beard, no teeth, and a single twinkling eye that promises both mischief and Christmas spirit. While most of the stanzas feel like the familiar rhyme, educator and novelist McWilliams (Diary of a Black Seminole Girl, Ebony Noel, 2016, etc.) departs from the usual story by having poor old One-Eye fall overboard. The tailor rescues him (and the ship’s dreadful cook offers burned broccoli when he’s back on deck). Some of the stanzas are a bit clunky: “One-Eye Redbeard / Could not swim! / I felt s-o-o-o sorry / S-o-o-o sorry for him!” And the illustrations were not available at the time of review. But the tale offers just the right amount of gross comedy to please young readers (One-Eye “burped, belched, and twitched” with his “thumb in his nose”).
Pirate fans looking for a touch of gross humor in their holiday stories will find this tale right up their alley.