We've always found it odd that pirates have become such popular characters for children. Gone are the brutal realities of their exploits, replaced with funny little costumes and odd speech. We're not sure what has made this sanitized modern image of pirates popular, it's probably "Treasure Island" or the Disneyland "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride, but whatever the reason it is here to stay. Not only are pirates popular characters for Halloween costumes and Lego sets, but there are also some mighty fine picture books with pirate characters. Here are some of "arrrrr" favourites:
Mungo and the Picture Book Pirates by Timothy Knapman and Adam Stower
The "Mungo" series of picture books is one of our favourite series (also includes "Mungo and Dinosaur Island" and "Mungo and the Spiders from Space"). The basic premise of each title in the series is the little boy named Mungo reads one of his favourite books and magically ends up inside the book and part of the story. In this instalment, Mungo is reading "The Seafaring Adventures of Captain Horation Fleet" which chronicles the dashing hero saving the day as he battles the dastardly pirate Barnacle Bill and his crew of scurvy pirates. After Mungo reads the book many times one night, the hero Captain Fleet decides he wants a vacation and it's up to Mungo to take over as the hero of the book. The Mungo series is packed with exciting and colourful illustrations and is great for promoting imagination and the love of reading.
The Pirate and the Penguin by Patricia Storms
Once there was a penguin who hated the South Pole. It was boring and too cold. There was also a pirate who found sailing around the world looking for treasure pointless. He wanted to stay in one place and relax. As fate would have it, the penguin and the pirate run into each other and figure out the perfect solution to their problems. Each illustration in this delightful book is full of little jokes and details which makes it perfect for repeated readings.
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andrea and Russell Ayto
What could be better than pirates? Why dinosaur pirates of course! One day while searching the art cupboard at school, a little boy named Flinn finds a pirate sobbing in the corner. It turns out that someone stole his pirate ship. Flinn and his school friends decide to help the pirate, but get more than they bargained for when they find out that the ship thieves aren't just normal pirates, but are dinosaurs as well. This is a really imaginative adventure story that will please all action-loving children. If you enjoy this one, also look for the sequel books in the series.
Now go read a book with your kids..."