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Gr 4-6- Most of what is known about the earliest "sea queens" is the stuff of story and legends. Yolen carefully notes what has been documented and what may be exaggeration throughout these brief biographies. An introductory chapter clears up some common misconceptions about pirates and pirating. Using recent scholarship on the subject, this collection crosses the oceans to include both familiar and unfamiliar names. Beginning with Artemisia in the 5th century BC and ending with Madame Ching in the 19th century, the profiles include Queen Teuta, Alfhild, Grania O'Malley, Charlotte de Berry, Lady Killigrew, Pretty Peg, Anne Bonney, Mary Read, Rachel Wall, and Mary Anne Talbot. Alternate spellings are listed, and sidebars provide supplementary and high-interest information. A gold-embossed binding and black-and-white scratchboard illustrations give a period feel to this handsome volume. Women pirates about whom there is a lack of adequate information for inclusion are mentioned.-Carol S. Surges, McKinley Elementary School, Wauwatosa, WI
The Sea Queens 1
Artemisia, Admiral-Queen, Persia, 500-480 BC 9
Queen Teuta, Illyria, circa 230 BC 13
Alfhild, Denmark, ninth century 19
Jeanne de Belleville, Brittany, fourteenth century 27
Grania O'Malley, Ireland, sixteenth century 31
Lady Killigrew, England, late sixteenth century 45
Pretty Peg and the Dutch Privateer, Holland, seventeenth century 51
Charlotte de Berry, England, mid-seventeenth century 55
Anne Bonney and Mary Read, American colonies, early eighteenth century 59
Rachel Wall, United States of America, late eighteenth century 73
Mary Anne Talbot, England, late eighteenth century 77
Madame Ching, China, early nineteenth century 81
Posted September 19, 2013
Today, September 19th, was Talk Like a Pirate Day, so I thought today would be the perfect day to read Sea Queens. I was right -- I love it when that happens.
Sea Queens is wonderfully well-researched, but it does not read like a textbook. Actually, if textbooks read like this, I would have been far more interested in history when I was in school. It reads like a well-told tale that happens to be factual. I devoured it quickly, I learned quite a bit, and I will be re-reading it over the years.
The illustrations are not necessary -- this book would still be interesting and accessible without them -- but they do add a layer of intrigue. The woodblock style artwork is a perfect choice for the subject matter.