Blackbeard the Pirate King

Blackbeard the Pirate King

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by J. Patrick Lewis
     
 

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Now, the real-life adventures and the myths of the 18th century Pirate King Edward Teach have inspired a thrilling collection of biographical poems by J. Patrick Lewis—collected in a picture-book format that will quicken the pulses and fire the imaginations of young adventurers everywhere.

This dramatically illustrated book combines history, adventure,

Overview

Now, the real-life adventures and the myths of the 18th century Pirate King Edward Teach have inspired a thrilling collection of biographical poems by J. Patrick Lewis—collected in a picture-book format that will quicken the pulses and fire the imaginations of young adventurers everywhere.

This dramatically illustrated book combines history, adventure, geography, and poetry in a treasure trove of rhymes about Blackbeard and his bloodthirsty seadogs. While Lewis's swashbuckling verse celebrates Blackbeard's mystique, the author's extensive historical note recovers the facts of Edward Teach's life from time-encrusted layers of legend.

The spine-tingling poetry also explores many lesser-examined realities amid the mass of mythology inspired by Blackbeard. Each of these 14 poems is written in a distinctive style as Lewis explores different aspects of the pirate's life.

Blackbeard's seaborne reign of terror also roars to life in carefully selected historical prints, dating back to the earliest known images of the Pirate King.

Blackbeard: The Pirate King is a rich chronicle of the most notorious pirate to ever scour the oceans. It's a book to be plundered and treasured by young dreamers with imagination in their blood, poetry in their bones, and a thirst for adventure on the high seas.

Editorial Reviews

To his contemporaries, the pirate Blackbeard (c. 1680-c. 1718; a.k.a. Edward Teach) was a fearsome creature who boarded ships and slaughtered crewmembers who resisted his plundering. Fortunately, the terror he once provoked has given way to wonder. In Blackbeard the Pirate King, the notorious sea dog comes to life in lively biographical poems by J. Patrick Lewis. Maps, historical prints, and other illustrations add atmosphere to the already pleasing text.
Children's Literature
Interest in Blackbeard was rekindled when his pirate ship, The Queen Anne, was discovered near Beaufort, North Carolina, in 1996. Lewis has chosen to retell his adventures in poetry accented with full-page reproductions of various artists' interpretations of this legendary villain. It is believed that Blackbeard was born in 1680 in England, but like many of the "facts" about him, no one knows for certain. Lewis's first poem is dated as 1698 to 1730 and describes the Golden Age of Piracy. He then begins his description of Blackbeard and his purported exploits with the capture of his most famous ship in 1717. Blackbeard is described as "tall as a waterfall" with "a beard that began beneath his eyes and curled down in pigtail braids." Several poems commemorating Blackbeard's larger than life escapades are followed by poems describing his last stand in the Battle of Ocracoke Inlet. His legend lives on here as tales are told of his headless body swimming about in the moonlight. Photography had not been invented during Blackbeard's era, so the reproductions of paintings present differing viewpoints of his looks and demeanor. They include the earliest known image of the pirate created by Thomas Nicholls circa 1730, Wyeth's "Duel on the Beach" from 1926, and works of other artists through to the present day. Brief notes with clarifying information appear below the poems on each page. A note from the author, some inset maps, and a timeline of Blackbeard's life will be of value to young researchers. 2006, National Geographic, and Ages 10 to 13.
—Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-A close-up cover illustration of the infamous Edward Teach, teeth bared and eyes glaring, will draw pirate aficionados and the curious alike to this book. Lewis offers 12 poems (some with awkward rhyme schemes) that will be best appreciated by those who know a little about Blackbeard and pirating history, though a footnote with important details follows most poems and an author's note mentions sources. What truly shines here is the design. Each poem is presented with a striking illustration-there's N. C. Wyeth's painterly "Duel on the Beach"; Howard Pyle's evocative "An Attack on a Galleon"; a reproduction of "one of the earliest known images of Blackbeard," by Thomas Nicholls (circa 1730); and an illustration (aglow in reds and oranges) of the terrifying Teach by the contemporary artist Rick Farrell. The variety of fonts and the pale brown pages evoke images of long-ago texts. Share this collection with reluctant poetry readers and anyone fascinated with the topic.-Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In variously rhymed verses as swashbuckling as the figure they celebrate, Lewis tries to flesh out the little that is actually known about the character and career of the most renowned pirate ever. As the poet sticks to the facts, Blackbeard remains a menacing but shadowy figure with a visage "so frightful that it chilled his foes / Straight to the marrowbone." But Lewis also notes that, until his final fight, there is no evidence that he ever killed anyone, and he evidently lifted the blockade of Charleston, which was his crowning exploit, in exchange for a chest not of loot, but of medical supplies. With notes and captions at the bottom of each balladic entry and illustrations that range from a contemporary portrait to dramatic battle scenes from N.C. Wyeth and other recent artists, this offers an unusual mix of historical roots and rousing rhetoric. Young readers and listeners will fervently agree that, "of all the thieves of the Seven Seas, / No one would ever reach / The height and might / Of the roguish Knight / Of the Black Flag, Edward Teach." (timeline, afterword, bibliography) (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780792255857
Publisher:
National Geographic Society
Publication date:
05/09/2006
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.63(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.35(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

J. Patrick Lewis has published 38 children's books, many of them poetry or nonsense verse. He lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

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