From little Jake, the Neverland pirate to the eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow of the Caribbean, buccaneers who roam the seas and bring back strange treasures have always held the interest of both adults and children alike. Why exactly do we find Jack Sparrow alluring? He is, after all, a criminal with a poor sense of hygiene. Maybe, his larger-than-life personality is easy to relate to because he is also down-to-earth, with his human flaws. Captain Jack Sparrow may look rugged and act ludicrous, but he beams with courage and confidence, and sometimes he seems to have a conscience too. Are those not good enough reasons to consider him a role-model? Aye, Aye, Captain!
With their quirky outfits, eye patches, peg legs and hand hooks, it is no wonder that pirates have a mesmerising effect on children. 'Aargh', 'Jolly Roger', 'Shiver me Timbers' and 'Landlubber' - their swagger and hilarious lingo will make any little one laugh out loud. Let your little swashbucklers dig into these books to find some pirate treasures.
1. How to be a Pirate by Sue Fliess
Publisher: Random House
Show your child how to become a pirate with this fun, rhyming book. Let her choose her pirate look complete with a pirate hat, an eye-patch, bandanna, cutlass and even a pet parrot. Pirates don't follow rules so, remind her to throw all the rules out the window. Once she learns the pirate lingo, shanties and dances, she'll soon become a certified pirate.
2. Ten Little Pirates by Mike Brownlow
Pick this boldly illustrated book if you want your little pirate to learn how to count. Ten little pirates go on a treasure hunt across the ocean. One by one, the pirates go missing due to the adversities at sea. A hurricane takes away one, a terrible monster eats up the next one and a giant squid gobbles another one and the perils go on until only a lonely pirate is left. But, the ingenious pirates find a way to come together and celebrate their loot.
3. Captain Jack and the Pirates by Peter Bently
Three brave pirates, Jack, Zak and Casper go on a daring adventure in their sand boat to chase an enemy ship full of treasure. A mighty hurricane strikes and they end up on a deserted island. They find that their enemy pirates are quite friendly when the enemies share their treasure along with some ice-cream for good measure. Helen Oxenbury's subtle watercolour illustrations give a fresh, marine feel to the book.
4. Pirate Pete and His Smelly Feet by Lucy Rowland
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Pirate Pete has the stinkiest feet in all the seven seas. When his crew have had enough, they push him to walk the plank. But little do the pirates realise that the smelly Pete is a powerful weapon in their arsenal. When bad times befall them, they learn their lesson well. This delightful book with colourful illustrations also come with activities and stickers for your child to indulge in.
5. A Pirate's Night Before Christmas by Philip Yates
If you're curious to know how pirates celebrate Christmas Eve, this is the book for you. Mirroring Dickens' The Night Before Christmas, this sing-song book brings Christmas to the pirate ship, Black Sark. Who brings the Christmas presents? You may wonder. It is Sir Peggedy with eight seahorses pulling his sleigh. Spanning the seas, he brings thoughtful presents to the crew, and the best-behaved pirate receives the ultimate pirate's gift. The book comes with a glossary of pirate words in case you are inclined to learn their slang.
Pirates Love Underpants by Claire Freedman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
If your tiny tot is transitioning to the big boy underwear, the Underpants series by Claire Freedman will motivate him. The Pant Pirates have only one treasure in their mind: a glittering underpants made of gold. They take off on their mighty ship, Black Bloomer with a treasure map in hand. They search high and low, across Big Knickers Bay and Three Pants Ridge, arriving at the treasure island a little too late. Another pirate crew has already claimed their golden underpants. But, fear not, Captain Underpants has a wicked (read: hilarious) plan.
7. Goodnight Pirate by Michelle Robinson
Goodnight Pirate is the perfect book to tuck in your little pirate after a long day of sailing and treasure hunting. A little boy bids good night to his pirate toys such as the cutlass, spyglass and his ship's cat in this gentle book. He nods off, dreaming about an adventure in an imaginary treasure island. The sleepy pirate finally snuggles up wishing goodnight to his booty and the Buccaneers.
Make a cutlass out of cardboard and a pirate hat from chart paper. Don an eye-patch and make a parrot out of paper plates. These delightful books will awaken the spirit of adventure in all children.
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