Review: Greenbeard the Pirate Pig

20140204-1Rating: ★★★★☆

All educational and child-rearing specialists agree on the importance of reading to your kids about pirates from an early age. But they sometimes forget to mention that sharing the true exploits of François l’Olonnais with an impressionable toddler can lead to less-than-desireable results. This is why we need books like Greenbeard the Pirate Pig to ease our youngsters into the basics of high seas shenanigans without prematurely exposing them to more advanced subjects (like cannibalism.) Continue reading

Review: Kahuna Kevin’s Why is the Rum Gone? Vol. 2

Rating: ★★★★★

Tired of drinking rum the old fashioned way (straight from the bottle with the smell of burning ships in the air)? Of course not – yer a bloody pirate! But even a bloody pirate can enjoy mixing things up once in a while – figuratively AND literal. With his first book, Kahuna Kevin introduced us to a wide assortment of original rum-based cocktails. 40 concoctions of varying complexity featuring a large number of our favorite rums. And now, with Why is the Rum Gone? Volume 2, Kahuna brings us another 52 masterpieces suited to all sorts of skill-levels and tastes.

That last point can’t be emphasized enough. There was a time that I thought rum-drinkers fell into one of only two camps – Continue reading

Review: Pirate Santa

★★★★ ½

Got some pirate younkers in the house that need a proper Christmas tale? The sort that has less to do with Santa, and somewhat more to do with Slappy Claus, a mermaid, and eight tiny tiger sharks?

Much like Jack Skellington before them, the inventors of Talk Like a Pirate Day have set their sights on the Yule-tide season in their quest for total holiday domination. Does it all end in comical disaster as did Nightmare Before Christmas, or are the Pirate Guys savvy enough commandeer the king of all holidays? Continue reading

Review: Kahuna Kevin’s “Why is the Rum Gone?”

Rating: ★★★★★ (turn speakers WAY up before visiting. Unless you’re at work. Unless your boss is really cool)

In case you require clarification, I love rum. Also, I love a good cocktail. Yet, strangely enough, aside from the occasional Mai Tai my mixed drinks of choice typically hail from the bourbon/whiskey camps – rum is rarely a piece of the equation.

Of course, that was before I learned of Kahuna Kevin’s “Why Is the Rum Gone? A collection of 40 tiki-licious rum cocktails.” That’s right – no less than 40 ORIGINAL rum drinks ranging from the sweet to the savory, and with such pirate-appropriate names as the Addled Wench, Blackbeard’s Depth Charge, Headhunter’s Punch, and yes, even the Scurvy Mouthbanger. Continue reading

Review: The Invisible Hook

Rating: ★★★★½

Did your eyes just glaze over?


Did they do it again?

Seriously, most pirate enthusiasts are all psyched about swashbuckling adventure and high-seas glory – words like “economics” are often considered a fast-track to a coma. And yet, economics is something we’ve likely thought about – and discussed with each other – in excruciating detail time and again without even realizing it. Economics, despite popular conception, isn’t a pile of dry mathematical formulas and bland theories, but rather it’s the science of determining why people do what they do. And when economical theory is aimed at our beloved subject of piracy, it’s rather amazing the sort of things that come to light. Continue reading

Review: Fish

Rating: ★★★☆☆
by Gregory Mone

I’ve said it before; reviewing pirate books geared at young adults is always a treat. The reason for this is twofold – first, it’s a noble effort to induct the young into an early appreciation of piracy. And second, it’s often a refreshing change of pace from reading material aimed at adults, which tends to be far denser, and at times daunting.

Fish is the story of Maurice Reidy, a boy who’s rather unremarkable save for his apparently inborn talent for swimming. Swimming comes as natural as walking for Maurice (who’s of course nicknamed ‘Fish’ by friends and family alike), but it’s a talent that’s of little use on a farm, and even less use when life finds Fish working for his uncle as a courier in the city. And so it would have continued, had young Fish not run afoul of some mischief during one of his routine runs. Not so routine, actually, as Fish had been tasked with a package of extreme import – so extreme, in fact, that pirates (and worse) seemed to spring from nowhere in an effort to acquire it at any cost. Continue reading

Review: Pirate Haiku

Rating: ★★★★☆
It’s a book called “Pirate Haiku” – do you really need an explanation? Ok, it’s also calls itself “Bilge-sucking Poems of Booty, Grog, and Wenches for Scurvy Sea Dogs.” Clear now?

Pirate Haiku is exactly that – 185 pages of haikus (one per page) about pirates doing piratey things. And while haiku purists might point out that while the 5-7-5 format remains intact, very few of these poems exhibit the meditative qualities or the kigo generally required in Japanese hai… Continue reading

Review: The Book of Pirates

Rating: ★★★★☆
I guess I never really thought about it, but it largely seems that pirate non-fiction is mostly available for two audiences – children and adults. But what about the inbetweeners? The adolescents who are beyond picturebooks, but not yet ready for the heavy, sometimes dry historical accounts found in historical novels? Enter The Book of Pirates: A Guide to Plundering, Pillaging and Other Pursuits.

Authors Jamaica Rose and Captain Michael MacLeod are no strangers to sharing their piratical wisdom. Indeed, they’ve been the primary forces behind the pirate trade publication No Quarter Given for, what, 17 years now? That’s a long floggin’ time, and the sheer volume of their pirate travels alone makes them well suited to the task of ushering our young adults into a wider world of swashbuckling adventure. Continue reading

Review: Hook&Jill

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Note: generally speaking, I avoid spoilers in my reviews. But this time I found it tough to avoid, so consider this your due warning – spoiler alert!

In my years of writing pirate book reviews, I’ve definitely seen those that I’ve adored, and others I’ve not cared for. It’s not always a question of quality, either – sometimes a book is well conceived and well crafted, but just isn’t for me. I’d thought that was going to be the case with this review, as indeed, the first 2/3 of the novel Hook&Jill by Andrea Jones simply wasn’t to my taste. But never have I seen such a recovery – the final third of this book felt like setting off a killer fireworks display that you’d spent the entire afternoon assembling – a long time coming, but worth the wait.

Essentially this book begins as the story of Peter Pan as we more or less know it. Wendy and her brothers have spent an undefined amount of time (a month? a century?) in the company of Peter and his Lost Boys. Wendy plays the mother to Peter’s father, and they all continue in an unchanged routine of daily adventures, Wendy’s tales, Peter’s rules about not growing up, and – for Wendy, anyways – a growing restlessness. Continue reading

Review: The Time Pirate

Rating: ★★★★½
As someone who reads a LOT of pirate books, I’m finding myself increasingly appreciative when an author contributes something truly unique to the genre. Standard pirate fare is well and good – I wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t – but there’s always something special about being hit with the unexpected, or enjoying a pirate adventure far removed from the usual stomping grounds.

And no one does this better than Ted Bell, author of Nick of Time, and now its sequel The Time Pirate. Set in the early days of World War 2, Nick and his family reside on a strategically important island in the English Channel, which soon finds itself overrun by Nazi invaders. Nick, who was already established in the first novel to be a boy of admirable patriotism, daring, and creativity, does his best to defend his homeland, even going so far as to restore (and fly) his father’s WWI airplane and engaging in home-made bomb runs over a Nazi base-camp. Continue reading