How I Became a Pirate – the pros and cons of being a pirate

th-9Jeremy Jacob experiences the pros and cons of being a pirate.

Bibliographic Info:  Long, Melinda & Shannon, David   How I Became a Pirate  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2003)  Formats:  Hardcover ISBN: 978-0152018481, Paperback, iBook, Kindle, Audio CD, Audible.  44 pages  Price: $16.99  Reading Level / Grade Level Equivalent: 2.3  Interest Level: K-2  Genre: Comedy and Humor, Read Aloud  Major Themes:  Pirates, Growing Up, Manners, Mischief

th-12Summary:  On a family day at the beach, Jeremy Jacob is building an impressive sandcastle when he sees a pirate ship.  As the pirates row to  shore, only Jeremy notices.  Impressed by his castle, Captain Braid Beard recruits Jeremy to be the pirate’s digger (for their treasure).  Jeremy doesn’t mind becoming a pirate for a day (until soccer practice the next day), so he kindly agrees to help the crew bury their treasure.  On board the ship, Jeremy and the pirates set sail, say real pirate stuff, sing loud sea chanteys and feast on meat and cheese.  Jeremy realizes that pirates never do anything they don’t want to do and states “I want to be a pirate forever.”  But at bedtime, Jeremy is told no tuck-ins, no books and no good night kisses.  After a frightening thunderstorm rocks the pirate ship, Jeremy decides he really does not want to be a pirate after all.  He still guides the pirates to a good hiding spot and helps them bury their treasure.  Then, Jeremy Jacob goes to soccer practice.

StorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1How I Became a Pirate was given the StorytimeWOW Marquee Seal on March 31st, 2015.  This book has been selected for the PictureBookWOW and Picture eBookWOW collections.  Read below for storytime tips.

th-13Review:   How I Became a Pirate is a splendid high-seas adventure.  Jeremy Jacob escapes his family of landlubbers with seven motley crewmembers who show him the ropes aboard a real pirate ship.  Jeremy’s excitement is infectious, as is his uncertainty and fear when life aboard the ship gets a bit stormy.  Both Long’s writing and Shannon’s acrylic paintings are vivid and hilarious.  Comedic gold nuggets are sprinkled through the story’s text and pictures like buried treasure.  Shannon’s salty crewmembers, including a bickering parrot and feline duo, ooze personality.  How I Became a Pirate is an exciting and funny adventure not to be missed.

Storytime: th-11  How I Became a Pirate does not include repetitive elements, but the story is so funny that its humor can be the tool with which the reader engages kids.  Just spend some time finding the funniest bits and guide your listeners to them.

Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness:  How I Became a Pirate can act as fodder for a discussion about manners (well, the pirate’s lack thereof) or feelings (Jeremy Jacob’s at the beginning, middle and end of his journey).

th-10Read-alikes:  No, David! (1998), Alice the Fairy (2004), Good Boy, Fergus! (2006)

Links:   Author’s Website   Scholastic   Activities 

Awards:  2004 ALA Notable Children’s Books winner   2003 Booksense Best Picture Book

Other Reviews Links:  ALA Booklist  Goodreads  Kirkus

Why I chose it:  I chose to review How I Became a Pirate because the boy’s facial expression on the cover reflects the joy of childhood and that is what storytime is all about.

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Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW!  Use your local library to check out books for free.