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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Shiver Me Timbers! poems by Douglas Florian and pirates by Robert Neubecker. Beach Lane, Simon & Schuster. 2012. $19.99 ages 6 and up

"Pirates wear long scraggly
Beards on their chins.
Pirates wear smirks
With immense evil grins.
Pirates have parrots
And eat alligator.
Pirates shoot first
And then ask questions later."

If you spend any time with kids, especially young ones, you will know how they love pirates, and all the frightening, funny things they do!  Douglas Florian obviously remembers this from his childhood, or has been reminded of it in the recent past. In this new book, he has penned a series of poems about those dastardly devils of the seas and given them new life.

Look carefully at the kids on the cover to know those who will be wanting to dress as pirates for all of the Halloween festivities this year. They are already preparing their costumes, and practicing their pirate talk and singing their 'groggy' songs. The treasure is there for them to take, and the silliness abounds on the face of the skeleton that festoons the 'skull & bones' flag. Thrilled with their plunder they take center stage for excited readers.

There are 19 very entertaining poems for us to share, and share them we will...again and again! The many characteristic attributes of pirates is first up, as referenced at the beginning of this post. There is an explanation of the vernacular that pirates use when speaking amongst themselves, and that we need to know should we encounter one of their crew. We are privy to their code of conduct. Who knew they had one?

"Don't take a bath.
Avoid all math.
It's best to yell
And blessed to smell.
Act rash and rude.
Dash down your food.
Be sure to slurp
And belch and burp."

Oh boy, what joy!  Rules to live by; that's for sure, matey!

There is a list of synonyms, a description of the punishment that wayward pirates face, their food, their heroes, and much about description. For each new entry, Robert Neubecker produces an apt image for readers to peruse and ponder. The telltale signs for pirates we have known and loved, imagined and admired...they are all here:

"I'm Captain Kidd,
Me treasure is hid
In a chest on Gardiners Isle.
Beneath the ground
It can be found:
Gold coins (that's why I smile).
Been buried here
Fer many a year
Since 1669.
So if one day
It comes yer way,
Remember: It's all mine!"

Get your r-r-r-rs ready to roll and your mean face on, practice your pirate language and get set to share these poems repeatedly! It's a surefire winner.

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