June 02, 2015

Bad Pirate

by Kari-Lynn Winters
Illustrated by Dean Griffiths
Pajama Press
32 pp.
Ages 5-8
May, 2015

Of course Augusta Garrick wants to be a good pirate.  Her father is Captain Barnacle Garrick and he was all the things a good pirate should be: saucy, bold and selfish.  In other words, he was bad.  He has no problems tying up traitorous crew and making them walk the plank (though Augusta rescues them in her rowboat below).  Or fighting off a giant octopus. Or yelling at the crew for helping an older member.

So one night she decides to do something saucy, bold and selfish: she tosses out the wooden peg leg of Scully, the one-eyed pit bull who never lets Augusta get away with any kindnesses.  But the next morning a brewing storm demands Scully's attention to the main sail, and he can't climb!  Will someone be "feedin' the fishes" for that snafu?  Will it be Scully, Augusta or the whole crew when the ship sinks?

You know Kari-Lynn Winters will spin a great yarn, which she has, and it’s a rollicking good one of life on the high seas, living with barnacle-hardened sea dogs (literally) and a father-daughter relationship like no other.  There’s learning about being oneself and accepting others' strengths as important, even if different. The text is salted with the voice of pirates–though nicely scrubbed for young ears and eyes–and the fluency of a sea shanty.  And Dean Griffiths makes sure that his bold illustrations transport the reader to the swaying decks of that pirate ship, embellished with detailed rigging, portholes, ratlines and masts.  And the crew of spaniels, chihuahuas, bulldogs and sheepdogs (this list is limited only by my own limited dog knowledge) is resplendent in their kerchief do-rags, breeches, buckle boots and gold earrings, the captain especially dapper in his frock coat and feathered musketeer hat.  And Augusta fits right in, truly looking like a pirate, even if Kari-Lynn Winters has to help her, and everyone else on the ship, see that when she was good, she really was a very Bad Pirate. Lucky for them.


  1. Sounds like such a fun book! Thanks for the terrific review.

  2. Great review for a great story! I bought this book for my four-year-old grandson. I had to read it to him right away (several times) before he'd open another gift. :)