Our informant is a stowaway who, over the years, has risen through the ranks to become Captain Firebeard and is now sailing home to retire. In the course of his career, he's sailed the seven seas, been marooned on a desert island, fought battles, won treasures and buried chests of golds. Frankly, what Captain Firebeard doesn't know about piracy really isn't worth knowing. So he's the perfect person to explain the workings of a pirate ship, a typical day in the life of a pirate, the essential skills for any trainee pirate to master (raft building in case of shipwreck is one I hadn't thought of), how to deal with sea monsters, and much more.
He also reveals the truth about what pirates eat (it's pretty gross) and the art of the perfect DIY parrot (yes, pirates actually hate parrots so most make their own dummy parrots — who'd have thought it?!). There's a hall of fame covering the most notorious pirates, a surprising number of whom were actually women, and even a guide to understanding pirate tattoos and 'bling'.
I loved the humour that runs through this book. From jokes such as 'What do you call a pirate with a spade?' (Doug) to the complaints of the Japanese Earthquake Causing Catfish (who is really Chinese) and the insanely gorgeous illustrations, this is the product of a marvellously inventive mind that offers fresh delights at every reading. A treasure trove!
Title: How Pirates Really Work!
Author/Illustrator: Alan Snow
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, $19.99 RRP
Publication Date: November 2013
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book