Can You Vague That Up For Me?

Welcome to the corner of Quirky and Kinky where you'll fall in love every time you open a book.

In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day

I’d like to share some of my very favorite pirate-y books.

Long before The Pirates of the Caribbean hit the theatres, my kids, like many kids loved pirates. For a long time we were Pirate Mama, Pirate Papa, Pirate Cait, Pirate Grammy – well, you get the picture. We drank pirate tea and ate pirate bars (granola bars). Time outs were called walking the plank. They tied each other up, hid treasure all over the yard and house and constantly carried swords, daggers and hooks. In an effort to potty train my youngest, he received those little plastic doubloons for hitting the mark…so to speak. We also read the best stories – they’re books that I’ll never get rid of – I have so many fond memories attached to them. Plus, they’re AWESOME story books. If you have any little pirates in your life (or older pirates who love picture books, may I suggest the following.


The Ballad of the Pirate Queens is by the brilliant Jane Yolen and tells the story of Mary Reed and Anne Bonney and Calico Jack Rackham. The paintings are exquisite and the story while likely not historically accurate is great.

Edward and the Pirates by David McPhail is probably one of my all time favorites. Edward, a little boy who loves to read spends all his time at the library with his nose in a book. One day he checks out a book about pirates. It’s a special book because it tells the location of the pirates’ treasure. The pirates know this, but they can’t read so they sneak into Edward’s room and demand that he tell them where the treasure is. Edward gives them more than they asked for – he teaches them to read. Best. Book. Ever.

Penelope and the Pirates by James Young is the story of a cat who longs for adventure so she convinces a sea captain that her markings are actually a map to a buried treasure. Unfortunately, some pirates get wind of this info and they kidnap Penelope. However, Penelope is a resourceful cat.

Sailor Song by Nancy Jewel is a sweet bedtime story about a little boy who’s father has gone off to sea.

Grandma and the Pirates by Phoebe Gilman tells the tale of a brave little girl who must rescue her Grandma. Because of her great skill at cooking, the Grandma has been been kidnapped by pirates to serve as their new cook.

And finally, Tough Boris by Mem Fox – how I love this book. Boris is the toughest of all pirates and he never cries, but one day his parrot dies. This book manages to be a little suspenseful, sad and hopeful all at the same time.

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9 thoughts on “In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day

  1. Arrrgh matey! I be adding me recommendation for Edward and the Pirates.

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  2. Excellent! Now I have new books to add to the grandkids Christmas Lists! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  3. This is going to sound cheesy, but do you remember The Pirate Movie, with Kristy McNichol and Chris Atkins? I know…bad movie, but I loved the soundtrack!

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  4. Pirates rock out! I luuuuurve pirate books.

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  5. So, in the pirate queen books do they plead their bellies and end up hung anyway?

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  6. They do plead their bellies but intead of dying miserably, they live to be old pirate-y ladies with lots of grandchildren. I like the story ending better.

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  7. Wow! And I thought I liked pirates. You’ve got me beat.

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  8. Arrgh. Pirates are the best.

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  9. Thanks for the recommendations. I love picture books! I use them with my middle school kids to help teach visualization and they are great to help students practice picking up on characterization and plot.

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