Sir Francis Drake

Pat Croce, illus. by Tristan Elwell. Pirate & Maritime Research Society (www.thepiratemuseum.com), $15.95 (56p) ISBN 978-0-9897-5330-2
This companion to Blackbeard (2011) casts an earlier British seafaring rogue, Sir Frances Drake, in a dramatic light. The opening sequence sets the scene for Drake's lifelong personal vendetta against the Spanish. After a 1568 skirmish with a double-crossing Spanish viceroy in the New World, in which Drake lost ships and crew members, he "promised himself that he would never forgive or forget the Spanish treachery and one day he would enact his revenge." Author/entrepreneur Croce, who founded the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum in Florida, focuses almost exclusively on Drake's privateering (rather than other aspects of his life), detailing the brazen plundering on sea and land that earned him a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth. The meandering narrative includes a great deal of reimagined dialogue, some of which has an anachronistic ring; as Drake triumphantly arrives home on a treasure-filled galleon he seized from the Spanish, his cousin announces that the queen "will be your best friend when her eyes alight on this plunder." Elwell's art—mostly sepia sketches, complemented by several dramatic, full-color paintings—energizes this swashbuckling adventure. Ages 6–12.
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Genre: Children's
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