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'How I Became a Pirate'     Send a link to a friend

[APRIL 28, 2004]  "How I Became a Pirate," written by Melinda Long, illustrated by David Shannon, Harcourt Inc., 2003, 30 pages, ages 4-8.

Review by Louella Moreland

Jeremy Jacobs is a normal boy who just happens to know a great deal about pirates. How? It all began one day as he was building a sand castle on the beach and a pirate ship sailed into view. His family was so busy doing the normal things families do at the beach that the pirates had landed before Jeremy could warn them. So begins Melinda Long's newest book, "How I Became a Pirate."

Although Jeremy is trying to keep a low profile, the pirate captain (who has taken a wrong turn at Bora Bora) asks him a question. Noticing that Jeremy has made a fine sand castle, the captain proclaims him a "digger." Captain Braid Beard needs a good digger, for he has treasure to bury. Needless to say, Jeremy is taken along to do the task. That is how he becomes a pirate. (Parents: I did have a problem with Jeremy thinking it would be OK to go with pirates if he were home in time for soccer practice. However, a concerned parent could point out that this is a story that is not real, and again caution their child never to go away with strangers.)

Jeremy soon learns all the things that make it fun to be a pirate. (Pirates never have to say "please" and "thank you," take a bath, or brush their teeth.) He teaches the pirates to play soccer (until the ball is lost overboard to a grinning shark.) Jeremy also learns when it is not so good to lead a pirate's life. (There is no one to tuck him in bed, read him books or tell him a storm would soon be over.)


[to top of second column in this review]

How I Became a PirateThe story is full of pirate talk, such as "Aargh!" and "Hey, ho, blow the man down!" The pirates behave exactly as anyone would expect them to behave, and Jeremy is all a boy of 7 years would be.

The real treasures in this book are the illustrations! Pages and pages are filled with bright, detailed drawings. Many will make both a young reader and an adult laugh out loud. Each page brings a delight to the eye; each pirate tells his life story in his appearance. Jeremy is a blue-eyed, blonde charmer. Even the scrawny, snaggle-toothed cat wears a golden ring in his ear. And did you ever wonder what is under a pirate's eye patch?

A reader will have a wonderful time as he or she journeys on this pirate adventure. Come frolic the high seas with Jeremy and the gang! Visit us at the library to check out this book and others about pirates.

[Louella Moreland, youth services librarian,
Lincoln Public Library District]

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