________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 3 . . . . October 2, 1998

cover Pirates.

Greg Nickles, Bobbie Kalman & Barbara Bedell.
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON: Crabtree, 1997.
32 pp, cloth, $16.76 (cl), $7.16 (pbk).
ISBN:9-86505-633-1 (cl), ISBN 0-86505-733-8 (pbk).

Subject Heading:
Pirates-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 - 5 / Ages 8 - 10.
Review by Irene Gordon.

** /4


A pirate is someone who lives at sea and steals for a living. Pirates have sailed the seas for thousands of years, but the most famous ones lived in the 1600s and 1700s. They sailed their ships over the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and the Caribbean Sea.

Some pirates are famous for their scary names and fancy costumes. A few are well known because they stole huge treasures of gold, silver, or jewels. Others are remembered because they took prisoners and killed people.

It is wrong to rob and hurt people, and many pirates were punished for their crimes. Today most people prefer to think of the fun things pirates did and the adventures they had. Some even pretend to be pirates by dressing up and playing games.

Pirates shares the wonderful production values of the other books in the "Crabapples" series, meaning that it is colourful and well-illustrated and has a good index, table of contents and glossary. Unfortunately, however, I believe that the topic ( particularly in the way that it is treated) is unsuitable for children between the ages of 8 and 10, the book's apparent target audience.

      The remainder of the book continues in this manner with facts about pirates interspersed with the idea that they also had a "fun" side. The book also has instructions on how to look like a pirate, make a treasure map, have a pirate party, etc. Many of t he illustrations are also troubling, with numerous photographs of very young children dressed up as pirates and cartoon-like drawings of pirates. Stereotypical cartoon pirates and pirate arts and crafts may have their place, but I do not believe that the y should appear in the same book that tries to deal seriously with the history of pirates.

      Had this book been written for slightly older students, it could have been a valuable resource for a study of pirates in a middle years unit on the sea.

Not recommended.

Irene Gordon is a teacher-librarian who retired last June after spending 14 years working in a junior high school library in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is presently co-editor of the Manitoba School Library Association Journal and is trying to e stablish a new career as a free-lance writer.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364