'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Review: Pirates

Title: Pirates

Author: John Matthews

Publisher: A&U Children, A$14.99RRP

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 978 1742 371115

For ages: 8+

Type: Picture/Information Book

About: Ahoy there me hearties! Calling all ye landlubbers and scallywags – strap on your sea-legs for this romping adventure into the heart of the seven seas.

Aimed at children who are hungry for information and fascinating facts, the book sets sail with pirate history, taking us on journey into the past – making things quite clear that the pirates of yore were hardly the romanticized heroes they are today, but rather a collection of hazardous, murderous and barbaric thieves who spent their very short lives alleviating anyone and everything of their possessions.

The book then takes us through an encyclopedic collection of pirate-y treasure from pirate attire to pirate slang, the origin of the Jolly Roger and other pirate flags, the lowdown of a typical ship and even a crew rundown – the captain, quartermaster, boatswain, gunner and the rest of the gang.

We also learn about food and drink, the ship’s stores (‘butts of beere’ sounds like something from a Harry Potter story) and several famous pirates such as Edward Teach – or ‘Blackbeard’ to you. Interestingly, we not only learn about the lives of these pirates but also about their fate – or more accurately, their capture, persecution and punishment.

But of course the most exciting section is on treasure and the obsession for riches that drove these very bad men to very bad deeds. To this day, modern day treasure hunters still search for the massive bounties rumoured to be hidden on various tiny islets around the Atlantic seaboard and the Caribbean.

Punctuated with illustrations, photographs and diagrams, this fun rollick is rounded out with a fascinating historical Timeline that brings us right up to present day – reminding us that pirates are still active in various parts of the world even now – albeit far from the swashbuckling, rum-drinking wranglers of yore.

Grab thee a wee dram and dive on in. Harrr!

Author website

This book is available online:

SeekBooks - A$13.49
Boomerang Books - A$13.49
Booktopia - A$13.49