CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 3. . . . October 4, 2002
Once again the author and illustrator of the "Imagine This!" series have produced an excellent book for reluctant readers. While girls may be attracted to the Imagine You're a Fairy book, both girls and boys may be attracted to Imagine You're a Pirate. The reader might consider this book to be an introductory "encyclopedia" to the romanticized thieves of the oceans known as pirates. "What are pirates?";"What do pirates wear?"; "Where do pirates work" are just some of the questions answered through the text and illustrations of the book. In fact, the illustrations are an essential factor in the success of this series. The illustrations also help to lighten what could be a scary or disgusting way of life. As the children and adults are "imagining they are pirates," they also happen to learn some facts about the hooligans, such as the name of the pirates' flag, pirate songs, punishments, fictional pirates, plus information about two real pirates. The reader is also encouraged to look up "pirate words" in the dictionary. Parents, teachers and others will be relieved to note that the colourful "pirate language" is not of the "blue" variety.
The reviewer feels that this book is for older students in comparison to the Imagine You're a Fairy book as there is more text and historical information. Pirates are historical figures and are based in fact. Because of these factors, the author may have found it more difficult to go into the realms of fancy about what it is like to be a pirate. However, as a tool for creating interest in historical fiction, adventure fiction, and historical non-fiction, the reviewer believes that this book is an excellent tool. The book helps the reader to explore what life was like in a different period of time. Readers have the opportunity to create and drink "pirates' grog" by using a recipe provided by the author. Exploratory, experiential learning helps make history real to young and adult readers alike.
Parents and teachers might also use the book to explore modern transportation and communication. What would the world be like without cell phones? What would one write in a message that is "mailed" in a bottle at sea? How confident would one be of having the message found? Are messages in a bottle a myth? These types of research themes could easily be developed from such a book. However, there remains one important factor that makes this a great book! Its fun!
Denise Weir is a consultant with Manitoba Culture, Heritage, and Tourism, Public Library Services. Her background includes developing children's programming projects, and school librarianship.
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