John Matthews, Author . S&S/Atheneum $19.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4169-2734-1

Anyone who considers himself or herself a fan of pirate lore will surely savor this scrapbook-style, paper-over-board hardcover with sturdy oversize pages. Matthews offers a comprehensive read, jam-packed with more nuggets than Captain Blackbeard himself could muster up (were he available). From a historical primer to explanations of pirates' ship flags (printed on an overleaf), the author leaves virtually no stone unturned. He devotes each spread to a different theme; the text is printed atop a ghosted image of a treasure map and accented by a medley of original illustrations and photographs. The layout carefully balances an informative text with photographic and cross-hatch images so as not to overwhelm the reader with too much data. One spread boasts a mini-book of "Pirate Slang," another features a catalogue of "Pirate Weapons," to further demonstrate the spread's theme, "Terror on the High Seas!" Perhaps the most noteworthy additions are several "documents," complete with faux–waxed seal stickers, inviting inquisitive readers to examine their contents. (A standout is the replication of a map dating back to 1758, indicating "sites where treasure may still be buried.") Written in a heavy ink script, these inserts mirror the look and feel of those yo-ho-ho days. This volume is true pirate booty, a treasure to be appreciated by pirate fans both young and old. Ages 6-12. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/08/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-4169-3934-4
Paperback - 978-1-4169-4248-1
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