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How to Become a Pirate

A treasure map, a scary ship, a good "yo ho ho," a small crew,
and lots of imagination

A hook, a beard, and a rambling parrot

If becoming a pirate is your calling, these bountiful products offer plenty of guidance on how to perfect your pirating skills, build a mighty ship, and find your buried treasure. Let your adventures begin ...

Pirates Bounty Treasure Hunt
Ages: 18 months & Up
Manhattan Toy, $25.00

Imaginations set sail with this fun-filled ship, perfect for hours of solo or shared adventures. Stored below deck are two jolly pirates, a treasure map and chest full of gold—five pieces in all. The mast doubles as a handle.

Dora's Pirate Adventure
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Paramount Home Entertainment, $16.99

Join Dora for her biggest adventure ever, a special double-length high-seas musical adventure! Dora, Boots, Diego, and even Baby Jaguar set sail with an ensemble cast in Dora's first musical episode filled with singing, star catching, and plenty of pirate-packed action! Product Description

Pirate GirlPirate Girl
Ages: 3 - 5 yrs.
Author: Siobhan McGowan & Cornelia Funke    Illustrator: Kerstin Meyer
Scholastic Inc./Chicken House, $15.95 (Hardcover)

It doesn't seem fair that only guys get to be pirates. Here, Cornelia Funke gives us the story of Molly, a young girl kidnapped by the most dangerous of pirates, Captain Firebrand. Anticipating a handsome ransom payment, the captain brings her aboard his ship, the Horrible Haddock, and threatens to throw her to the sharks unless she gives up her parents' names. Molly refuses, insisting that Firebrand and his crew would be terrified if they knew her mother's identity. Each night, after peeling potatoes, cleaning the boots of pirate crew members Morgan O'Meany, Ten-Pint Ted and Crooked Carl, polishing cutlasses and swabbing the deck, Molly puts messages in the pirates' empty rum bottles and tosses them into the sea. Her ingenuity is rewarded when a red-sailed ship appears carrying Molly's mother - the pirate Barbarous Barbara. Funke's rousing story is expanded by Kerstin Meyer's watercolor and pen and ink illustrations.

How I Became a Pirate
Ages: 3 - 7 yrs.
Author: Melinda Long    Illustrator: David Shannon
Harcourt Trade Publishers/Harcourt Children's Books, $16.00 (Hardcover)

Author Long's appealing fantasy about a young hero, Jeremy Jacob, and how he comes to join the crew of Captain Braid Beard's pirate ship, is made spell-binding with the addition of artist Shannon's bright, bold and mildly scarifying acrylic illustrations. Listeners learn that pirates have green teeth; sing -- "a little off-key "; and are not above kidnapping young Jeremy after marveling at the handsome sandcastle he is building on the beach. The pirate crew is sorely in need of a good digger to help them bury a treasure. Jeremy becomes their willing captive; nobody tells pirates when to go to bed or take a bath or change into pajamas. But listeners and young hero alike soon learn the negatives of pirate life: no bedtime stories, no tucking- in, no goodnight kisses.

Sail Away
Ages: 3 - 7 yrs.
Author: Florence McNeil    Illustrator: David McPhail
Orca Book Publishers, $15.95 (Hardcover)

An inspired collaboration finds David McPhail’s accomplished watercolors in perfect harmony with Florence McNeil’s no-nonsense text introducing nautical terms to young listeners. What will keep listener-viewers rapt is the clever context: a young pirate (perhaps age 5 or 6) in full costume in running a bath. With him are a straw basket of stuffed animals and a box containing a model pirate ship. We join this cast in a fantasy preparation of the vessel for launching and setting sail. We witness a myriad of sailors’ activities: swab the decks, polish the bright work, step the mast, vang the boom, etc. What’s more, we reach book’s end and thanks to the stuffed animals’ clearly pictured activities – and a help glossary—we could ably launch our own pirate ship. In a bathtub anyhow.

Roger, the Jolly PirateRoger, the Jolly Pirate
Ages: 4 - 7 yrs.
Author: Brett Helquist    Illustrator: Brett Helquist
HarperCollins Childrens Books, $15.99 (Hardcover)

Roger is a lousy pirate. In fact, whenever there is any real pirating to do, the other pirates scowl and send him away. Roger wishes he could think of something - anything - that would prove he is a good pirate. So when, in the middle of a great battle, Roger has a jolly idea, no-one - not even Roger himself - has a clue that he will soon change the face of pirating forever!

Pirate Puppet
Ages: 5 & Up
Folkmanis, Inc., $14.00

A puppet with masculine appeal, this hand-sized pirate is designed so the puppeteer’s fingers can simultaneously move the head and both hands. Its eye patch, hook, knife, and attire (including “leather” boots) are all sturdy and durable for long hours of play. Use of this puppet can be correlated with stories and poems having pirates as their main characters. Some selected examples are as follows:

Ages: 7 - 12 yrs.
Author: Stewart Ross
Copper Beech Books, $7.95 (Paperback)

Razor sharp Dao swords decorated with human hair, pirate crews disguised as women in order to catch their quarry off guard, an actual woman pirate - the terrifying Grace (Grania) O'Malley, who plied her murderous trade for 25 years - these phenomena and oddities are enumerated and gaudily displayed in a "can't put it down" assemblage tracing piracy from the Middle Ages to contemporary highjackings of luxury yachts in the Caribbean.

See-Through PiratesSee-Through Pirates
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Author: Kelly Davis    Illustrator: John Malam
Running Press Kids, $16.95 (Hardcover)

From Captain Hook to Blackbeard, pirates have long captured the imaginations of both children and adults. A stunning collection of tales, facts, images, and maps, this new book goes behind the myths and legends with a look at the reality of life on the ocean. Two special spreads with printed, see-through acetate pages provide a window onto the pirates' greatest weapon-their ship-and the tricks they used to surprise their victims. The battles and treasure hunts that are the stuff of classic pirate adventure stories come alive with more than 120 full-color illustrations. Book Description

Blah Blah Blah: Stories About Clams, Swamp Monsters, Pirates and DogsBlah Blah Blah: Stories About Clams, Swamp Monsters, Pirates and Dogs
Ages: 8 & Up
Round River Records, $15.00

In these stories, Harley conjures up worlds of Pirates, Giant Clams, Dogs and Dirty Sneakers. The stories are funny; sometimes they’re hands-on-face with fingers spread, spooky-scary-story frightening. His characters come straight from the memories of your fourth grade class and his spot-on delivery is confirmation that Bill Harley really and truly honest to goodness cross your heart knows what makes kids laugh.

The 13th Floor: A Ghost StoryThe 13th Floor: A Ghost Story
Ages: 8 & Up
Author: Sid Fleischman Illustrator: Peter Sis
HarperCollins Children's Books / Amistad, $15.00 (Hardcover)

Orphaned, Buddy Stebbins and his sister Liz have only each other until the night Liz doesn't return home. Buddy hears a strange message on the answering machine urging Liz to come to the 13th floor of an old downtown building. Trying to locate the place, he finds himself delivered to a 17th century pirate ship. Filled with appealing pirates, unappealing preachers, buried treasure, this is a time-warp adventure that leaves open the question of who exactly are the ghosts in the story.

The Pirate's Son
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
Author: Geraldine McCaughrean
Scholastic Inc./Scholastic Press, $16.95 (Hardcover)

Tamo, the pirate's son, takes fellow orphans Maude and Nathan to his home in Madagascar. Maude loves the colorful island with its superstitions, exotic animals, and friendly natives but Nathan is homesick for England. Dangers the children face include sharks, storms, and plundering pirates. The lyrical language evokes vivid images of Madagascar. This adventure story contains subtle humor and it packed with twists and turns.

Pirate Ship Park
Ages: 9 & Up
K'NEX Industries, Inc., $49.99

Ahoy! Yer maties looking for a thrill? Landlubbers be warned - this Pirate Ship Park is only for me hearties. This building set is for those kids willing to take on the challenge of creating a thrilling two foot tall, motorized, electronic screamin' ride. And you can build at least two other thrill rides with this one set. Comes with four thrill seeker figures. Product Description

Building CardsTM How to Build Pirate ShipsBuilding Cards™ How to Build Pirate Ships
Ages: 10 & Up
Klutz, $12.95

How refreshing to see a pirate-theme activity that doesn't involve marauding! Sturdy cards are scored and slotted to snap apart into 226 building cards in seven shapes. Step-by-step illustrations show how to build a quite complex-looking ship from deck to hull, including rudder, mast and sails. Each of the 48 steps is accompanied by pictures of the cards needed for that step, exploded view of the assembly, picture of the completed assembly, and the assembly finally attached to the boat. A pirate figure is also included. The instruction book ends with pictures of other ships that can be built with the same cards. Kids are encouraged to take apart the ship they have just built because “the best pirate ship you ever make will be one you design and build on your own.”

Ages: 10 & Up
Gamewright, $9.99

The Plundering Pirate Card Game. Yo-Ho-Ho and a barrel of fun! Set sail for an exciting adventure of strategy and skullduggery in this captivating card game. Storm your opponents' merchant ships and seize valuable treasure. But watch your back, matey -- plundering pirates are out to capture your ships as well, the player with the most loot rules the high seas. Product Description

Piracy & Plunder: A Murderous Business
Ages: 10 & Up
Author: Milton Meltzer    Illustrator: Bruce Waldman
Penguin Putnam/Dutton Children's Books, $24.99 (Hardcover)

Edward Every is rumored to have offered to pay off Great Britain's national debt in exchange for a pardon -- he was a pirate and one of the richest men of the day. Piracy is one of the world's oldest professions, and Milton Meltzer traces its history without romanticizing it. Bruce Waldman's bold illustrations in somber colors, which are markedly different from the familiar Wyeth illustrations of Long John Silver and his cohorts, complement the text. Female pirates Ching Shih, Grace O'Malley, and Ann Bonny are discussed. The distinction between pirates and privateers, blurred though it might be in actuality, is described. Make no mistake, these were cruel people in a cruel business; Meltzer's mention of rape, torture, murder, slave trading, and other savageries might be too intense for some readers in the suggested age group. That caution aside, Meltzer provides the reader with a riveting look at a business that thrives to this day.

Don't Miss
Pirates and Pretending
Ah, the theatrical gorgeousness of being a pirate! With an eye patch and swordplay. Flying the skull-and-crossbones. The lively lingo: “Avast!” and “keelhauling” and “walking the plank.” Parrots and treasure maps, doubloons and pieces of eight. The easy mention of–and wonderfully named--Blackbeard and Captain Kidd. Jerry Griswold explores a history of classic pirate tales.

Our Favorite Monsters
With the season of ghosts and gobblins and monsters and mischief upon us, we thought we would share a few of our favorite monsters with you. Traditional Halloween stories take a twist in many of the international tales that follow; while tried and true classics are as humorous and entertaining as always. And just in case our monster products leave you a little spooked, we've recommended our favorite flashlights for extra comfort at bedtime.

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