Monthly Archives: June 2013

pirate picture books for kids

Reviews of Pirate Picture Books for Your Little Buccaneer

Beach weather is upon us and with that pirate season. Argh! Last year my parents and kids went on a “real” pirate ship, thanks to Pirate Voyages in New Jersey. After sailing the open sea (or at least the bay), “fighting” another pirate and drinking lots of “grog,” both of them were committed to a life at sea, at least for an hour. Here are reviews of eight pirate picture books for your young buccaneers and landlubbers.

How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long, incorporates everything that children like about pirates – the silly language, the questionable hygiene practices and the missing limbs, without the more objectionable stuff – stealing, plundering, etc. A kid named Jeremy Jacobs is building a sand castle, when suddenly a pirate ship approaches the shore. The captain, Braid Beard, and his goofy crew are looking for directions – they have taken a wrong turn at Bora-Bora – and a digger to help them bury their treasure. They decide that Jeremy is their man and he goes off to become a pirate for a day. At first, Jeremy loves being a pirate. There are no rules, you can be as gross as you want to be at the dinner table – my son loves that part – and you never have to brush your teeth. Eventually, he gets homesick and the pirates decide to bury their treasure in his backyard. Then they come back to get the treasure in the sequel, Pirates Don’t Change Diapers, and meet their match – Jeremy’s baby sister. After reading these two books, my son decided that he is “a little pirate with no peg leg or hook.” He especially loves the pirate with two eye patches who keeps peeking out with his two good eyes. Ages 3+

What is the treasure pirates seek? Gold doubloons, jewels, fresh fruit perhaps? In Dirty Joe, the Pirate: A True Story by Bill Harley, smelly socks is the answer. He and his fearsome crew raid other ships and mercilessly steal them off sailors’ feet. They are undefeated, sailing through the open seas with their collection of flying socks, until they are outmatched by a ship with female pirates and captained by a familiar person. Could it be Joe’s beloved big sister? Unfortunately, these ladies are nabbing boys’ underwear. Not only does my son enjoy this book, but his sister comes running in from the other room when she hears me read it. Afterwards, they reenact the story. This book is definitely a kid-pleaser, especially for families with both boys and girls. Ages 3+

Pirate Nap: A Book of Colors by Danna Smith is for toddlers everywhere who search under the couch cushions for hidden treasure. This book accomplishes three things: it teaches colors to kids, encourages napping and tells a 100% unoffensive pirate story. Two little pirates (boys) don’t want to take a rest and neither does the sea monster (baby sister). Eventually, fatigue catches up with them and they return to their ship (bed) and sleep. I read this story to my son when he was two and he loved it (and still does). Ages 2+

The Skeleton Pirate is a rather unique tale by David Lucas about a skeleton pirate who loves to fight and hates to get beaten. Finally, he is bested by other pirates and ends up stuck in a whale with a mermaid. The lovely mermaid teaches our unlikely hero that fighting is not always the solution to every problem. Together they brainstorm their way out of the whale. My daughter particularly likes the ending, when the mermaid and the skeleton fall in love. Strange, I know, but it works. Ages 4+

Are you good at doing voices? Can you talk like a pirate and a cowboy? If so, your child will love Pirates vs. Cowboys by Aaron Reynolds. This story is about a pirate crew and a cowboy posse who meet up and get caught up in a misunderstanding because they can’t figure out what the other is saying. Finally, a cowboy-pirate named Pegleg Highnoon comes to the rescue and lets them know what they all have in common – their stench. My son especially likes the manta-ray pirate and the wild boar cowboy. Ages 4+

In my opinion, An A to Z of Pirates is one the best alphabet books, especially for four-to-six-year-olds. Each page features a pirate scene with many hidden objects that represent each letter. It also manages to tell a story – if you pay attention carefully. Plus the rhyming text is reflective of “pirate talk” without putting your tongue in a knot. My son says that it helps him “learn a lot of letters.” Considering we are shoring up his pre-reading skills for kindergarten in the fall, that is a good thing. Ages 4+

The modern concept of a pirate is more fantasy than history, based mostly on Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Everything I Know About Pirates follows this tradition by making up a bunch of random facts about pirates, designed to entertain kids. My five-year-old son likes some parts of this book, such as the treasure chest containing a pot, a typewriter, a chicken, an apple, etc., but other parts went over his head, such as the pirate name chart. My seven-year-old daughter enjoys this sort of satirical “nonfiction,” so the book is probably aimed more at her age group. Ages 6+

Additional Picture Books about Pirates

Easy Readers about Pirates

Songs about Pirates

Jake And The Never Land Pirates Album

Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Pirate Rock

Captain Feathersword
– Wiggles

A Pirate Says Arr

Yo, Ho! (A Pirate’s Life For Me)

Poem about Pirates

If sailor tales to sailor tunes,
Storm and adventure, heat and cold,
If schooners, islands, and maroons
And Buccaneers and buried Gold,
And all the old romance, retold
Exactly in the ancient way,
Can please, as me they pleased of old,
The wiser youngsters of to-day:

–So be it, and fall on! If not,
If studious youth no longer crave,
His ancient appetites forgot,
Kingston, or Ballantyne the brave,
Or Cooper of the wood and wave:
So be it, also! And may I
And all my pirates share the grave
Where these and their creations lie!

From Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Source: Project Gutenberg

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Children's Books about Pirates

Link to a blog post about pirate books or add your own suggestions!


Jul 15, 2013 - - 455
Reviews of Pirate Picture Books for Your Little Buccaneer

Beach weather is upon us and with that pirate season. Argh! Last year my parents and kids went on a "real" pirate ship, thanks to Pirate Voyages in New Jersey. After sailing the open sea (or at least the bay), "fighting" another pirate and drinking lots of "grog," both of them were committed to a life at sea, at least for an hour.

Jul 22, 2013 by Carrie Gelson - - 376
There's a Book for That

Pirateria written and illustrated by Calef Brown was our BLG book this week read by the very talented Bill who read sections in a very believable piratey "accent." This was one fun book and a very amusing read aloud experience! Bill started off with the title and immediately one child remarked that the title sounded a lot like "bacteria."

Jul 15, 2013 - - 409
Plattekill Library Book Blog

Because we will be celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day (we make our celebration last a week!) every year from now on, I've decided to make our own Pirate Book Page! Enjoy! Pirate themed books (childrens) Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies by Carolyn Crimi Captain Barnacle Black Ear, baddest of the Buccaneer Bunnies, is ashamed of his book-loving son, Henry, until the day a great storm approaches.

Jul 16, 2013 by Douglas Low - - 442
Mild-Mannered Librarian

Every self-respecting Geek knows that International Talk Like a Pirate Day is on September 19th, and even though my pirate accent is absolutely terrible (it turns Southern about midway through, kids don't seem to notice) this week's entries are going to be about Pirates! First up, my favorite storytime, read-aloud Pirate books.

Jul 16, 2013 - - 354
Pirate Picture Books Ahoy!

Just how child-friendly are pirates? Given the horrific headlines about actual pirates off the coast of Somalia, isn't it odd that parents happily read bedtime stories about the descendants of Long John Silver and eagerly look forward to the day when their preschoolers will be old enough to watch "Pirates of the Caribbean" on DVD?

Jul 16, 2013 - - 454
Challenging the Bookworm Blog

ARRRRRRRRR me matey! Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Never heard of it? Where is your pirate spirit? It's an excuse to celebrate all things pirate, and a great theme for story times that will draw the sprogs (errr... I mean boys and girls) into the library.

Jul 16, 2013 - - 450
Good Books and the Random Movie: Pirates and Sea Stories
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12 Great Picture Books for Your Little Princess

I was inspired by our recent trip to Disney World to write a blog post reviewing princess picture books. At 7, my daughter no longer aspires to be a princess when she grows up, but she still secretly likes them, especially the spunky ones with more personality. Here are twelve princess picture book recommendations for your not-too-passive, fun-loving girl. (Note: Boys might enjoy these books too!)

The Apple-Pip Princess by Jane Ray is perhaps my daughter’s most favorite picture book. We have read it many, many times and when I told her I was going to review books about princesses, this was the first book that came to her mind. This tale takes place in a kingdom that has become a wasteland since the death of its beloved queen. Serenity, the queen’s youngest daughter, has a box of precious things from her mother including a seemingly worthless apple pip. It is this single seed, however, that saves the kingdom and wins Serenity the crown over her selfishly ambitious sisters. This book celebrates the small acts of nurturing over large, flashy gestures. My daughter views Serenity as a kindred spirit, a girl who is intelligent and thoughtful, yet also somewhat quiet. She also loves the detailed, Mediterranean style illustrations. Ages 4+

The Princess and the Pizza is a hit with both of my kids. Princess Paulina is an out-of-work princess, whose father in an apparent mid-life crisis, decided to give up the throne and become a woodworker. Frustrated with her new life, Paulina auditions to marry the good-for-nothing Prince Drupert from a nearby kingdom. Paulina passes the first two princess tests laid out by Drupert’s overbearing mother – the pea under the mattress test and glass slipper test. The cooking contest is more challenging, however, especially after the other princesses (that bear close resemblances to Snow White and Rapunzel) take all of the ingredients except for some dough, overripe tomatoes and cheese. With these few supplies and a wood stove to work with, Paulina makes an incredible discovery and the rest is “history.” This book features strong, spunky characters. My daughter likes it because it mixes different fairy tales together and is not “overly princessy.” My son likes the emphasis on one of his favorite subjects – food. Ages 4+

Are boys and girls different? I have both and would be inclined to say yes. Given two toys, my daughter would choose to have them become great friends and more often than not, my son would have them engaged in battle. Is this nature, nurture? I’d rather not speculate. Of course, these differences can be exaggerated to create boring, vapid girls and boorish boys, but in my experience when boys and girls bring their own perspectives together, they can imagine some pretty cool things. This is the premise of Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O’Malley. Two schoolmates, a girl and a boy, can’t agree on what their school-assigned story is supposed to be about. The girl imagines a story about a princess with a herd of unicorns. The boy thinks this story is lame and introduces the Cool Motorcycle Dude, a testosterone-laden muscle guy. Pretty soon their stories start merging and getting better and better. The best part of the book is the illustrations, because it features three different artists – a cartoonist, a woman illustrator with a very feminine style and a man illustrator with a very masculine style. My kids love this story and its sequel, Once Upon a Royal Superbaby. Ages 4+

The Princess and the Peas by Caryl Hart is an adorable book about a little girl whose dedicated father is desperately trying to get her to eat peas. Despite his attempts to hide them, she refuses to touch anything containing the offending vegetable. – This really reminds me of my husband’s struggles cooking for our own picky girl. – Finally, she agrees to try one and becomes “ill.” The doctor’s diagnosis: “pretty, polite, allergic to peas,” she must be a princess! She is swept off to the palace, where she lives every little girl’s dream. She plays dress-up with hundreds of dresses and shoes, dives into a giant pile of stuffed animals, and has her own personal library. She is having the time of her life, until she finds out what princesses actually eat – cold cabbage stew! My kids debated the pros and cons of being a princess. Is having all that stuff worth all the hassle of waving and being proper all the time? It is so hard to decide… Ages 3+

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer asks some great questions. “Why is it always a pink princess? Why not an Indian princess or a princess from Thailand or an African princess or a princess from China?” I completely agree, Olivia. Princesses can seem conforming when everyone else is one. This is Olivia’s dilemma: On one hand she wants to be different from the other fairy princess girls; on the other hand, being unique is sometimes hard, like the time when she dresses like a warthog for Halloween and terrifies everyone. Finally, she comes up with a solution: she can be Queen! Olivia is not a character for everyone, but this title is a good choice for strong-willed girls with a bit of diva mixed in. Ages 4+

Penelope in Princess Penelope by Todd Mack has no such qualms. She is “absolutely certain” that she is a princess. After all, she has chambermaids (pets), royal thrones (car seat, potty), servants who service her every need (parents) and chariots (strollers). Most scenes in this book are cut into two parts – the drab everyday world and the world of a princess. You can guess which one Penelope prefers. Ages 2+

You Can’t Eat a Princess! by Gillian Rogerson is my son’s favorite of the princess books. Princess Spaghetti is supposed to be having a party, but unfortunately she is forced to save her father, King Cupcake, from some very silly aliens. Finally, she convinces them that she has food that tastes much better than people – chocolate. This book is pure farce. Great for girls and boys who enjoy silly antics. Ages 3+

Twenty-six Princesses: An Alphabet Story by Dave Horowitz is an alphabet book with 26 goofy princesses and a castle full of reluctant frogs. This book is also a good choice for kids with a well-developed sense of humor. Ages 3+

The next book is a bit more sophisticated. Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer is a truly ingenious book that takes several poems and writes them backwards to tell entirely different, yet connected stories. This book is a must for fairytale lovers and poetry fans. Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems, a second volume of verses, was just published earlier this year. Ages 5+

What exactly does it mean to be a girl? Preschool girls are constantly trying to answer this question, hence the fascination with princesses. I like this book because it tells young girls that it is OK to get dirty, climb trees and occasionally be less than polite. It doesn’t make them any less feminine. After all, ultimately, that’s what we all want – well-rounded girls who feel good about themselves – princess or not. Ages 2+

Additional Recommended Books about Princesses

Easy Readers about Princesses

Songs about Royalty

I Had a Little Nut Tree

London Bridge

Sing-a-Song of Sixpence

Rhyme about Princesses

I had a little nut tree.
Nothing would it bear,
But a silver nutmeg
And a golden pear.

The King of Spain’s daughter
Came to visit me,
And all for the sake
Of my little nut tree.
Source: Bullard The Most Popular Mother Goose Songs (1910),

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Books for Princesses

Link to a blog post about princess books or add your own suggestions here by adding to the list!


12 Great Picture Books for Your Little Princess

I was inspired by our recent trip to Disney World to write a blog post reviewing princess picture books. At 7, my daughter no longer aspires to be a princess when she grows up, but she still secretly likes them, especially the spunky ones with more personality.

Picture Books for Little Princesses

Little girls' attraction to all things pink seems encoded in their DNA, as inevitable to their development as, say, learning to sit up or typing with their thumbs. Few parents realize it has not always been thus.

Six Princess Books for Parents Who Really, Really Hate Princess Books

It's a sad fact, but, if you're the parent of a young girl, at some point, there's a better than average chance that you'll have to deal with the creeping horror that is the princess book genre. The princess craze is an amazing thing to behold.

Ten Favorite Alternative Princess Picture Books

First of all, I'd like to say Happy Hinamatsuri, which is Girls' Day in Japan (and by extension, Hawaii). Every March 3rd, girls are honored and their health and happiness prayed for, and beautiful dolls are displayed to represent emperors and empresses- amazing collections of entire entourages in ceremonial dress.

Positive Princess Books For Kids - No Time For Flash Cards

by Allison McDonald Princess books range from amazing to unreadable. The way princesses are marketed to our children especially girls it's hard to avoid them and even when we work hard to avoid them it seems like they sneak in somehow. I don't want to veto all princesses just because some stories are crap and [...]

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summer reading 2013

2013 Summer Reading List – 7 Series Reviews by a 7-Year-Old

Summer break is here for many of you throughout the country. My kids still have to slave away at school for another couple of weeks, but regardless, it is time to start thinking about all the great books to read over the summer.

Here are some of the series that my bookworm of a daughter has enjoyed this year. As you can see, her tastes are trending toward fantasy books. I have included reading levels for each series (when available), even though my daughter often reads books that are a higher reading level than she is technically supposed to. These books are good choices for girls and boys entering into second grade and up. She wrote all of the reviews into her journal and I typed them up (with spelling corrections).

The Sisters Eight by Lauren Baratz-Logsted is a set of nine books about eight identical sisters who are seven and have just lost their parents. Over the course of a year, each sister develops a different special ability, such as running extremely fast or speaking with animals. Will these gifts help them locate their parents before their eight birthday? Read and find out.

S’s review: “I like the Sister’s 8 series because I like the idea of living alone with a bunch of sisters. Also, the sisters have really cool superpowers! I love superpowers!”

Reading Level: Scholastic Reading Counts – Level: 4.4, Points: 7, Lexile: Level: 720L
Source –

The Kingdom of Fantasy (Geronimo Stilton) is a series of five books that is part of the larger collection about a reporter mouse named Geronimo Stilton. These stories stand apart from the rest, because they are set in a fantasy land with dragons, unicorns, fairies, princesses, you name it. Detailed maps and vivid illustrations are found throughout. As of this summer, there are five books in the series.

S’s review: “These books pretty much put together everything I love! Mystery, humor, high fantasy, or twisted tales – whatever it is that you are seeking, step inside the Kingdom of Fantasy for a thrilling ride!”

Reading Level: Grade level Equivalent: 2.7, Lexile Measure®: 500L, DRA: 50, Guided Reading: T
Source –

Ivy & Bean are best friends and neighbors who have all kinds of hilarious adventures. So far, the series by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall has nine books, but there will probably be more soon.

S’s review: “This series is a great tale of childhood friendship. Ivy is a quiet bookworm, while Bean is a loud and clumsy tomboy. Both are my age and are always making mischief!”

Reading Level: Grade level Equivalent: 2.7, Lexile Measure®: 510L, DRA: 24, Guided Reading: M
Source –

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles take conventional fairy tales and twists them into stories more palatable for the adventure-loving modern girl. The series has four books.

S’s review: “In these fun books, humor and fantasy really do make their home! A runaway princess (something I love), embarks on an adventure with a dragon in the Enchanted Forest. She meets many cool fantasy creatures along the way – including a purple flying donkey!”

Reading Level: Not available

The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson is also based on popular European folk and fairy tales. The ninth and final book, The Council of Mirrors, was just released on June 4th.

S’s review: “This a dark but fun series about twisted tales. It features well-known storybook characters, such as Snow White and The Three Little Pigs. My favorite thing about the Sisters Grimm is the excitement, wonder, and dread of weaving a way through a bedtime treasury.”

Reading Level: Grade Level Equivalent: 4.5, Lexile Measure: 840L, Guided Reading Level: R
Source –

Guardians of Ga’hoole is a fairly brutal set of stories about an owlet who endures kidnapping and warfare. There are fifteen books in the series, which spans generations of owls.

S’s review: “The books in this series are interesting, as well as creepy. My biggest reason for liking the Guardians of Ga’hoole is that it combines two of my favorite things: owls and adventure!”

Reading Level: Grade level Equivalent: 4.5, Lexile Measure®: 730L, DRA: 40, Guided Reading: R
Source –

OK, I know what you are thinking. Why is your 7-year-old allowed to read the whole Harry Potter series. Answer: She begged. Like many kids before her, she has memorized practically every facet of these books.

S’s Review: “My favorite things are magic, fantasy, suspense, adventure, owls, and flying, along with a feeling of mischief and mishap. Harry Potter brings all that all together – and shoots it sky-high! These books are awesome – and they get bigger as they go!”

Reading Level of First Book: Grade level Equivalent: 6, Lexile Measure®: 880L, DRA: 50, Guided Reading: V

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Book Reviews Written by Kids

Link to any book reviews by kids, or write your own here


Jul 15, 2013 - - 220
Hat City Middle School Series Reviewed by a Kid

A Child's Review of Lauren Baratz-Logsted's Guys Against the Girls and Robbie Knightley from Hat City Middle School on Kindle

2013 Summer Reading List - 7 Series Reviews by a 7-Year-Old

Summer break is here for many of you throughout the country. My kids still have to slave away at school for another couple of weeks, but regardless, it is time to start thinking about all the great books to read over the summer.

Jul 16, 2013 - - 213
Spaghetti Book Club - Book Reviews by Kids for Kids!

The largest site of children's book reviews written and illustrated by kids for kids. Read our reviews or submit your own!

Jul 16, 2013 - - 234

Zoe, at the always fascinating website 'Playing by the Book' has just published a marvellous post on children's book authors and illustrators who are or were refugees. I urge you to check this out: Hearing about their life stories adds an extra depth to the stories we then read by them.

Jul 16, 2013 - - 283
Top 10 children's book review blogs written by kids - KIDS' BLOG CLUB

There are tons of blogs around about children's books, but so far most of them have been written by adults. But now junior bookworms are having their say as children start to blog about the books they love reading. We think it's really cool when children blog about the books they read.

Mother Daughter Book Reviews

This website is dedicated to sharing children's book reviews written by Mother Daughter Book Reviews or other teams of kids and grown-ups.

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