Thursday, March 27, 2014

Shelf Life [kids]

Your Life As a Cabin Boy on a Pirate Ship by Jessica Gunderson, 32 pages.
Young pirate enthusiasts may want to read this book to get the true picture of life aboard a pirate ship.
If you joined a pirate crew at a young age, you would become the ship’s cabin boy. Exciting?  Yes, sometimes … but mostly, the life of a cabin boy would be filled with hard work, drudgery, discomfort and danger.
Firstly, pirate food might surprise (or horrify) you. Bland pirate porridge, smelly sea turtle stew and tasteless hardtack were often the only items on the menu.
Secondly, pirate ships weren’t built for comfort. The crew slept on the hard deck or below in the stuffy, foul-smelling “hold”.
Thirdly, pirates didn’t take baths – and there were no laundry facilities on board either. After weeks or months at sea, the smells on the ship would be overpowering, to say the least!
Severe punishments were sometimes awarded to crew members who broke the “pirate code”.  Most common were being tossed overboard or being marooned alone on a deserted island.
Lastly, life at sea was dangerous and deadly because pirates (and cabin boys) often died or were injured in storms, fights, accidents, or from diseases such as malaria.
Keeping all of this advice (much of it tongue-in-cheek) in mind, would-be pirates might wish to choose an alternative career!
This entertaining book is one of a series by Jessica Gunderson. Other titles include Your Life as a Pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and Your Life as a Cabin Attendant on the Titanic.

** Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.

Amazing Pirates: Fiendish Tales of Dastardly Deeds by Nicola Baxter, 80 pages.
Eight hilarious short stories recount the swashbuckling sea adventures of Pugnacious Pete the Pirate Captain, the clueless crew of the “Purple Pimple” pirate ship, Pedro the Poisonous Parrot and other sea-worthy (and not so worthy) characters for young readers and listeners.
Among the many adventures of this motley crew are a bad storm at sea, a pirate mutiny, a battle at sea, an encounter with an enormous squid, surviving a shipwreck … and even a pirate romance.
Perhaps the most fearsome adventure experienced by the crew, however, is an unwelcome visit from the scariest pirate of all, Dreadful Doris. Prepare to be as surprised as Pirate Pete at the true identity of Dreadful Doris … and the reason why she finally decides to leave the Purple Pimple!
Each short story is a perfect length for a bedtime story, and the illustrations of artist Colin King bring the comic misadventures, calamities and blunders of the Purple Pimple pirates to colourful life for young children.

** Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.

This review appeared in the Stratford Gazette on March 27, 2014. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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