Shiver Me Timbers!: Pirate Poems & Paintings

Douglas Florian, illus. by Robert Neubecker. S&S/Beach Lane, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4424-1321-4
In a series of surly pirate-themed poems, Florian (Poem Runs: Baseball Poems) describe the pleasures of life on the high seas—avoiding bathing, pillaging towns, and burying treasure—with swashbuckler slang sprinkled throughout: "Some pirates pirate spices./ They steal without a care./ Some pirates pirate pirates—/ Arrgh, matey, best beware!" It's not all the good life, though, with meals leaving something to be desired ("One Friday we had flounder./ Saturday ate fluke./ If we have fish for one more day/ Methinks that I will puke," complains one scallywag). Florian tosses some unexpected ingredients into the chowder: fearsome Blackbeard diligently writes letters to his mum (she resembles her son, beard and all); on another spread, modern-day children examine the sand where, just below, a skeletal Captain Kidd still guards his treasure ("Been buried here/ Fer many a year/ Since 1669"). With their bloodshot eyes and yellowed teeth, Neubecker's caricatured pirates are appropriately rowdy, rambunctious, and rough around the edges (you can practically smell their feet), the humor complementing the playful say-it-with-a-snarl verse. Ages 6–up. Illustrator's agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 10/22/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
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