Saturday, June 11, 2011

For young readers: Books about pirates

book reviews

The swashbuckling outlaws that sail across the seas have been a part of numerous adventures that have made them exciting subjects for readers around the world, and their popularity remains high as successful franchise are built around the pirate concept. For young readers who are fascinated by the topic, numerous works – both standalone books as well as volumes that are part of series – have been written that shed light on the life of pirates and offer both simple, amusing stories, as well as dark exciting adventures.

A Year on a Pirate Ship
Author: Elizabeth Havercroft
A Year on a Pirate Ship helps young readers take a closer look at the world of pirates and tells the “story of what takes place during a year on a pirate ship”. The book uses descriptive illustrations – or “action packed scenes for a bird’s-eye view of the life and work of pirates on the open sea” – along with the text to connect to children, and takes them on a voyage accompanying the pirates through a year’s worth of excitement, as they load the ship, set sail, get stuck in weeds, attack a merchant ship, dig for buried treasure on an island, deal with a whale, get hit by a storm, and end up shipwrecked. All these incidents are presented in a very simple way; additionally, a small glossary at the end of the book, which the readers can refer to which going through the pages, provides definitions for terms like cutlass, mast, stern, and Jolly Roger, in order to help kids understand the basics of pirate life as they spent a whole year with the pirate crew.

The Royal Visit
Author: John Grant
Illustrator: Jon Davis
Troubles brews on the island of Sabatina when the king announces he is coming on a state visit, after it turns out that Governor Broadside, who has to “receive his majesty in full dress uniform”, has lost his badge! As that is a serious offence, the Governor risks losing his position (or even his head) for it. Worried that they “might lose a bad Governor…and get another who’s even worse”, the pirates of the region decide that they must help the Governor. Led by Captain Roger, Bo’sun Will, and the crew of Darkshark, the pirates set off on a quest to find the missing badge. The Royal Visit, which is part of the Lego Pirates series, is short and amusing and is helped by the bright illustrations that accompany the words; young ones who are looking for a fun story that is easy to read might enjoy this book.

Treasure Island
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
A young boy finds himself in the harsh world of treasure hunting in Treasure Island, one of the world’s best known adventure stories that grips the reader at the very beginning and keeps them captivated till the end. After coming in possession of a pirate’s treasure map, Jim Hawkins and his cohorts set off to find the buried loot, and on their way become aware that the pirates on their ship, led by Long John Silver, are planning a mutiny once the treasure is discovered. One of the most recognized pirate stories ever written, Treasure Island delves into the dark waters of greed and betrayal, and showcases the tussle between good and evil. Due to its enduring success, the book has been adapted for readers of all ages; young children who are looking for an adventure story can enjoy the Ladybird Children’s Classics edition of the book, which sees editor Joyce Faraday retell the story in simple language and features illustrations by Dennis Manton.

- By Sameen Amer

The Express Tribune - 11th June, 2011

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