Review: The Adventures of Short Stubbly Brownbeard

Rating: ★★★½☆
The Adventures of Short Stubbly Brownbeard
by Alan J. Levine

The Adventures of Short Stubbly Brownbeard begins brilliantly odd and piratey, and ends the same. And in the middle – it’s still wonderfully odd, although the piratey elements tend to waver a bit. The reason is simple – while the tale begins in the Caribbean, and smack in the middle of the golden age of piracy, the adventure soon carries us to the far reaches of the galaxy, where cats talk and baseball players (or the galactic equivelant) are worshipped as demigods and duly appointed to public office.

Brownbeard is the cousin of the famous pirate Blackbeard. He sets off from his accounting job to be a pirate of his own, and soon finds himself meeting with gremlins and aliens, and eating all sorts of weird things. Author Alan J. Levine has a strange sense of humor, reveling in the dryly ridiculous, while also enjoying a good pun or two. Sometimes it’s hilarious, sometimes it’s just weird. But it’s always unexpected, and generally quite entertaining. The book is at its best when Blackbeard makes his Continue reading

Review: A Pirate’s Life for Me!

Rating: ★★★☆☆
A Pirate’s Life for Me!
by Julie Thompson and Brownie Macintosh

It’s no secret that I adore children’s pirate books. In a world of myth-busting party-poopers, it’s refreshing to sit down and read some gloriously illustrated tale that shares my shameless love of pirates, without letting history get in the way of a good tale.

BUT, sometimes you gotta set the record straight with the young’ns and educate them properly as to the actual historical aspects of piracy, lest their heads become full of Hollywood mush. A Pirate’s Life for Me! does exactly that, covering the daily routines of your average Caribbean pirates from morning to sunset, with all the shipboard maintenance, eating, drinking, and fighting that typically occurs between. Actually, that’s not quite accurate – drinking is NOT covered. Continue reading

Review: Bronze Pirate Bottle Opener/Medallion

Rating: ★★★★½
Marcus Cove Creations 

Yo yo ho – pirate bling is in the house!

Marcus Cove Creations has made a piece of pirate jewelry that’s fun, functional, and HUGE. This highly detailed medallion features a wild-haired skull clutching a dagger in its teeth while being impaled on an anchor. Across the face is a scroll reading “Surrender Thyne Ale.” Far from a simple 2-D image, this medallion is engraved with exceptional three dimensional details and textures. The top is designed to work as a bottle opener, so your throat should never be dry. The obverse side is a less detailed, but perfectly attractive, engraving of the western half of Hispaniola – in short, Haiti and Tortuga.

The crux of this piece is its size. It’s a full 2.5 inches across, and 3.5 high. That may not sound like much, but grab a ruler and you’ll quickly realize this is a monster. Cast from bronze, this is one huge – and heavy – piece of Continue reading

Review: Three Skull Pendant

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Celtic Jackalope

For any pirates wanting to accessorize with jewelry that differs from the typical jolly roger motif – while still remaining perfectly grim and swashbuckling – Celtic Jackalope has developed its Three Skull Pendant.

This sterling pendant features three grinning skulls atop the backdrop of a filagree-laden sword. Three fleur-de-lis surround the borders, accompanied by an iron-cross(ish) engraving just near the bezel. Nearly three inches tall, this is a commanding piece of swag that’s sure to garner many admiring comments. Consistent with Celtic Jackalope’s usual attention to detail, the back of this piece is nearly as detailed as the front, clearly showing the backs of the skulls, sword, and all other features. Despite the many tiny “appendages,” this casting is very solid. Each component is plenty robust to maintain its structural integrity, even if it gets roughed up a bit while you’re out skewering Spaniards.

A very gorgeous pendant. I think it will look particularly brilliant after it ages and tarnishes a bit for that proper piratey “weathered” effect.

Review: Large ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ Ring

Rating: ★★★½☆
Celtic Jackalope

Continuing on the fine tradition of its “Dean Men Tell No Tales” line of pirate jewelry, in which they offer various sterling accoutrements featuring a distinctive skull and crossed sabers, Celtic Jackalope has now created its new, jumbo sized coat of arms ring.

Celtic Jackalope’s previous ring that featured this design was fairly small and understated, perfect for those wishing to bear a subtle nod to their piratical inclinations while remaining fairly incognito. This new ring, however, is meant to command attention. The design is roughly twice the size of the earlier ring, boasts much more detail, and is complimented on each side by a fleur-de-lis design. Definitely a ring suitable for pirate royalty! Continue reading

Review: Pirate Mom

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Pirate Mom
by Deborah Underwood

The thing that makes Blackbeard a particularly fascinating historical subject – aside from being a maniacal brute with a penchant for setting his own hair on fire, that is – was that he was one of the few pirates to keep logs of his exploits. In fact, he was one of the few pirates who could actually read and write.

So kids, if you want to grow up to be just like Blackbeard, you should learn to read (it’s the piratey thing to do.)

Step Into Reading is a multi-part series of books intended for budding to novice readers. Amongst their Step 3 offerings (grades 1-3) you’ll find Pirate Mom by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin. The story follows the adventures of Pete, a young boy (and pirate fan, naturally) who’s own mother is turned into Continue reading