Backbeard: Pirate for Hire

Backbeard: Pirate for Hire

by Matthew McElligott
     
 

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Backbeard may have a new suit, but he is still one of the orneriest, smelliest, and hairiest pirates ever to sail the high seas. And his crew still likes to smash and steal things—they just prefer to do it in style. Unfortunately, certain members of the Pirate Council don't think he looks piratey enough in his new garb, and since they are just as stubborn as

Overview

Backbeard may have a new suit, but he is still one of the orneriest, smelliest, and hairiest pirates ever to sail the high seas. And his crew still likes to smash and steal things—they just prefer to do it in style. Unfortunately, certain members of the Pirate Council don't think he looks piratey enough in his new garb, and since they are just as stubborn as Backbeard, it's their way or the waterway.

Unwilling to give up his birthday suit, Backbeard sets out in search of new employment. He can pillage and plunder with the best of them, but who'll dare to hire a dirty, smelly ex-pirate?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Blackbeard, the hairiest, smelliest, dirtiest pirate ever is called to the Pirate Council. He is told to change his fancy clothes to pirate attire, including a parrot, or he is out. So he leaves his crew and goes ashore with his pet pig to find a job. Turned down everywhere else, he is hired by a little old lady to help in her tea room. Left in charge when her children come to visit, Blackbeard is pleasantly surprised when his old shipmates turn up. With their “help,” however, the tea shop is soon a mess. Going to apologize to the little old lady, Blackbeard discovers that her children are the Pirate Council. To keep their secret, they agree to let Blackbeard be his own kind of pirate. The spoof of pirate lore starts on the cover with a full frontal portrait of our hero in a sandwich board that reads “Pirate for Hire” set against a background of Help Wanted ads. Across the front endpapers are eleven illustrated “Pirate Rules,” and across the back papers, the rules are amended for Blackbeard. The full-page framed and double-page illustrations done with pencil, fabric, photography, and digital techniques present the comic characters and their adventures dramatically, with occasional vignettes sketched on the text pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3 The "hairiest...smelliest, dirtiest, and most colorfully dressed pirate ever" returns for another adventure. Backbeard is forced to seek new employment after the Pirate Council deems him unfit for a career in pirating because of his clownish attire, straw hat, and pig mascot. He finally finds work in an elegant tearoom (not exactly the perfect fit for his skills) before finding a way to return to his true calling. McElligott's mixed-media illustrations are striking. Numerous textures in warm hues accentuate Backbeard and his crew's unexpected fervor for fashion. Framed illustrations with dominant vertical lines make the actions portrayed seem static and formal, contrasting ironically with the text's conversational tone and silly subject matter. Unfortunately, the fine artwork does not compensate for a lackluster plot and underdeveloped writing. The eye-catching cover featuring the protagonist wearing a "Pirate for Hire" sandwich board will attract young readers, but swashbuckler aficionados may have trouble appreciating Backbeard given that he does very little pirating. For better books about buccaneers behaving uncharacteristically, try Mem Fox's Tough Boris (1994) or Melinda Long's Pirates Don't Change Diapers (2007, both Harcourt).-Madeline Walton-Hadlock, San Jose Public Library, CA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802796332
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
08/21/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.12(w) x 11.47(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

MATTHEW McELLIGOTT is the author of several books for children, including Absolutely Not. He is an innovative self-promoter with a strong focus on multimedia who averages 20-30 appearances per year including school visits. Visit his website at www.mattmcelligott.com.

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