Review: Pirateology

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Pirateology certainly isn’t the only explore/activity book on pirates, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure if it’s even the first. But it’s most certainly one of most involved. Far from a simple history of pirates, each page takes on the feeling of a pirate-hunter’s scrapbook, complete with journal entries, pictures and keepsakes, and hidden secrets. Readers can find bags of gold dust, scraps of pirate flags, and – if they’re very, very thorough – even the secret location of Arabella Drummond’s treasure.

Pirateology is eye-catching from the start. The hardbound cover features a gold jolly roger against a black background, and a real, working compass. Upon opening, it’s nearly jarring how much material is presented on a single page. It’s easy to let the eyes and fingers roam aimlessly, but this is a book that should be explored from the beginning, and taken step-by-step – otherwise, much might be missed.

Books such as this, I think, best serve a very specific interest. Learning about pirates in the exploratory scrapbook manner is hardly the most efficient way to digest information, but it is certainly one of the most entertaining. And afterwards, the novice pirate enthusiast will likely retain a great deal about pirates and their lives – what they ate, how they lived, how they fought, what they wore, what they sailed, etc. etc. In fact, if a child has only one book on pirates, they could do a lot worse for themselves than starting with Pirateology, as it would do much to open up the diverse world of pirates in all it’s varied aspects (although a thorough discussion of rum is notably absent.)

That Pirateology opens a whole world of piracy to children is no accident, and one that the folks who created this book are quite ready to expand upon. Pirateology also has an associated calendar, a board game, a model ship, and figurines of famous pirates and their ship – all available seperately. I’ve not yet explored these items in detail, but to the casual glance they all seem wonderfully piratey and entertaining.

A book such as this could do much to save your young niece or nephew from a life of tedium and normalcy by introducing them to pirates right proper and early. Highly recommended.

2 thoughts on “Review: Pirateology

  1. I just picked me up this book…good price at 4.99 American dollars. It wasn’t for the historical information (nothing new there for me), but for the excellent illustrations.

  2. I worked in a store where we carried this book for a while. I got a chance to peruse it now and again, and I have to say that I liked it a lot, and found a ton of great, well-researched information in it.

    I did however have one notable gripe. That is, while most of the information contained in the pages is solid and factual, there is also a good deal of fiction thrown in, mostly involving the imaginary characters of Arabella Drummond and William Lubber. Furthermore there seems to be no clear way for young readers to discern truth from fantasy.

    While there are those among us who would recognize that the name ¨Lubber¨is a laughably contrived nautical joke, and the name ¨Drummond¨is a throwback to Edward Drummond, who later became Edward Teach, A.K.A Blackbeard, I fear that many younger readers who are experiencing piracy for the first time through this book might become confused.

    Other than that however, I totally agree with this review, and think it´s a very fun read, as long as one can differentiate between fact and fiction.

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