Review: The Riddle in a Bottle

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Pirates… we need more of them. And where do we get more pirates? From little pirates, of course. This is why it’s so important that that wee ones are inundated with pirates during their upbringing. Sure, they should be made to read Treasure Island, and forced to watch the Pirates of the Caribbean flicks again and again and again – but it’s also vital that the necessary pirate exposure occurs in unexpected and surprising ways. Such as in a children’s video about the importance of moving water in our world – yeah, stuff like that. Continue reading

Review: Henry & the Crazed Chicken Pirates

Rating: ★★★½☆
henrycrazedchickenDo I really need to review this? I mean, c’mon – it’s a children’s book, and it’s titled “Henry and the Crazed Chicken Pirates”. Seriously, that’s all the info you need to determine whether this book is for you. Oh, and perhaps I should point out that the Crazed Chicken Pirates also seem to be Airship Pirates – so bonus for all you steam-heads out there.

The story begins by explaining the daily life of the Buccaneer Bunnies – proper scalliwaggs that spend their time the way I’d spend *my* time given the opportunity – not raiding and pillaging, but rather lounging about on a tropical island and shooting each other out of cannons. The fun comes to an end, however, when Henry – the youngest of these pirate rodents – discovers a note in a bottle that threatens impending danger. Most of the pirate scoff, but Henry takes the warning seriously and begins preparations. I won’t tell you how it ends, but here’s a hint: It involves Crazed Chicken Pirates (in an airship). Continue reading

Review: Baltazar and the Flying Pirates

Rating: ★★★☆☆

baltazarflyingpiratesLet’s see… a jolly band of misfit pirates take their flying ship to an amusement park in search of treasure – while there they’re bombarded with parents wanting to take pictures, kids thinking it’s ok to climb on the pirates, and security guards who just don’t understand that it’s all in good fun…

Sounds like a typical weekend to me. Well, except for the flying ship. Someday, maybe.

Baltazar and the Flying Pirates is more or less the tale I just described, brought to life in colorful, friendly artwork. The pirates are a misfit crew indeed, with some members you may recognize (Anne Bonney, Long John Silver) and still more that are new to this story (Flynn, Captain Redlocks, Big Queeq, etc.) Each is a character is unique and memorable as their names, to say nothing of the story’s “every boy” protagonist, with the truly unusual name of Baltazar. Continue reading

The Kinder, Gentler, Christian Captain Hook

For those of you haters who’ve been writing to your newspapers saying that all historically-inclined pirate festivals should be canceled because a few Somalians can’t behave themselves, get bent check this out – pirates teaching Christian values. Now don’t you feel sheepish? Of course, they’re entirely lame, don’t look or sound remotely piratey, but at least they’re making the effort. Or made the effort, rather – this was back in the seventies. I like to think that one of those smiling children grew up to be a right despicable scallywag, and is swilling rum and gutting Spaniards as we speak (in a very “love-thy-neighbor” way, of course.)

Review: Pirates Do the Darndest Things

Rating: ★★★★½
mikemennard_dothedarndestthBuy the CD
Genre: Pirate kid’s songs, poems, and silly stuff
Rating: G
Target Audience: Kids, mostly. But definitely some crossover appeal to adults.

Of all the pirate musical artists it’s the childrens’ entertainers for which I have the lowest expectations. I can’t tell you how many pirate kids’ albums I’ve never even bothered to seek out based on their sample tracks that clearly demonstrate a soft, froofy performance that would be of no interest whatsoever to those over the age of six. Mike Mennard, however, is a different beast entirely. True, children are clearly his target audience. But he also demonstrates remarkable creativity and talent the likes of which can be thoroughly enjoyed by all ages – mostly. Continue reading

Review: Emphatical Piratical

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Genre: Children (and adult) Pirate Rock and Alternative
Rating: G
Target Audience: Kids will definitely love it, but adults will also find some good stuff

Since the very beginning, Captain Bogg & Salty has always walked a fine line. On the face of it they’re children’s entertainers, and therefore sing silly songs of a kid-friendly nature. But the genius of their first album, Bedtime Stories for Pirates, was that – rather than sounding like preschool teachers like so many other childrens’ “pirate” entertainers – Bogg & Salty lent the impression of being real pirates; actual buccaneers, albeit good-natured ones, doing their level best to “keep it clean” for the duration of the album. This made Bogg & Salty a rare beast, being a pirate band that could be enjoyed by kids and their parents (and even angsty teens and 20-somethings) alike. Continue reading

Captain Sabertooth (I am afraid)

The Ben Gunn Society brought this video to my attention and has been on my case for not yet posting it. And rightfully so – it’s disturbingly strange. His name is Captain Sabertooth – he’s a Norwegian children’s entertainer, pirate, and (I’m fairly certain) a former inmate at the Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. ¬†After you view the video, be sure to explore his website,

Review: Pirates of the Caribbean Online

Rating: ★★★★☆

Let’s face it, most of us don’t live the sort of lives that allow us to indulge our love of piracy – we don’t own sloops with cannons, we can’t walk around our neighborhoods with swords strapped to our hips, and so on. This is where Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMO) are such a wonderful modern creation. For those not familiar with the concept, an MMO is essentially an online world where you create a character and do whatever it is you wish you could be doing in real life. For people like us, this usually means looting and pillaging.

Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Online is a relatively young MMO – it’s only been live for a few months and is still growing and developing to best suit the desires of its players. In it, you create a pirate character – male or female – and customize their look to suit your tastes. The characters are a little cartoony, with the menfolk being rather burely and the girls leaning towards the cutesy, but this works well enough considering that the game itself is a bit fantastic and cartoony, rather than attempting to mimick reality outright. Continue reading

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. Continue reading