Tuesday, May 25, 2004

How I Became a Pirate

Long, Melinda. 2003. HOW I BECAME A PIRATE. Ill. by David Shannon. San Diego: Harcourt. ISBN 0152018484 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 2nd grade]

Jeremy Jacob didn’t plan on becoming a pirate. In fact, during a trip to the beach with his family all that young Jeremy wanted to do was to spend his afternoon building a beautiful sandcastle. But everything changed when Captain Braid Beard and his crew showed up looking for a good digger to help them burry their treasure. Captivated by this band of marry men Jeremy happily accompanies these amusing fellows on a wonderful adventure. As Braid Beard and the boys begin to teach Jeremy the ins and outs of pirating he has a wonderful time. He learns to play like a pirate, sleep like a pirate and eat like a pirate (no vegetables!). Jeremy even learns to talk like a pirate and to say things like “Down the Hatch!”, and “Aye!” Jeremy learns all about what pirates do and the way they live, but as time goes by, he begins to see that being a pirate is not all that its cracked up to be. And even though Jeremy has to waive good buy to his new friends in order to make soccer practice on time, he will always be a pirate at heart.

Caldecott Honor illustrator, David Shannon makes the book come alive with his stunning acrylic on illustration board artwork. The humorous depiction of the pirates keeps the book light and fanciful. With swim trunks, a wooden sword, and black rubber goulashes, Jeremy Jacob makes a delightful character that can relate to any little boy. The excellent and humorous wording also aids in making the story personal and sentimental to anyone who has ever had a day-dream. The use of “pirate lingo” also adds an extra element of laughter and enjoyment and provides a great opportunity for a “read-along” for learners.

A reading of this creative tale can spur great creative writing and discussion with children about dreams and playing make-believe. This story could provide a great door opener to further conversation a reading about events in history.

The book also provides a great opportunity to practice responsive or choral reading in with its use of bold repeated phrases on each page.

Other imaginative fairy tale stories full of quirky, curious characters:
Cronin, Doreen. DIARY OF A WORM. ISBN 006000150X
DiCamillo, Kate. THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX. ISBN 0763617229
ISBN 0316833290

By Kristi Mays

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