Great Illustrated Books

How I Became a Pirate

By Melinda Long, Illustrated by David Shannon

Harcourt, Inc., 2003
Pages : 32
Suggested Ages: 3-7
ISBN: 9780152018481

Building a sand castle at the beach one day, young Jeremy Jacobs encounters Brain Beard and his motley pirate crew. He joins them aboard ship as their official digger and off they sail to find a safe place to bury their treasure chest of gold and jewels. Jeremy learns pirate language ("Aargh!") and pirate manners (they don't have any), and tries to teach the scurvy dogs to play soccer. He doesn't have to brush his teeth. ("Maybe that's why their teeth are green," he observes cogently.) But when he asks them to tuck him in and read him a bedtime story, they howl, "No tucking!" Pirates don't tuck. Or read books. And forget about a good night kiss. When a storm breaks and lightning splits the mast, Jeremy leads the crew back to a perfect digging spot—his own back yard—where they bury the treasure.

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If you love this book, then try:

Cox, Judy. Rabbit Pirates: A Tale of the Spinach Main. Harcourt, 1999. ISBN-13: 978-0152018320

Falconer, Ian. Olivia Saves the Circus. Atheneum, 2001. ISBN-10: 068982954X

Faulkner, Matt. The Amazing Voyage of Jackie Grace. Scholastic, 1987. ISBN-13: 978-0590407144

Feiffer, Jules. Meanwhile . . . HarperCollins, 1997. ISBN-13: 978-0062059338

Helquist, Brett. Roger the Jolly Pirate. HarperCollins, 2004. ISBN-13: 9780064438513

Leedy, Loreen. Mapping Penny's World. Henry Holt, 2000. ISBN-13: 9780805072624

Long, Melinda. Pirates Don't Change Diapers. Harcourt, 2003. ISBN-13: 9780152053536

McPhail, David. Edward and the Pirates. Little, Brown, 1997. ISBN-13: 9780316563444

Scieszka, Jon. Baloney (Henry P.). Viking, 2001. ISBN-13: 9780142404300

Shannon, David. David Gets in Trouble. Scholastic, 2002. ISBN-13: 9780439050227

Shannon, David. David Goes to School. Scholastic, 1999. ISBN-13: 9780590480871

Shannon, David. No, David! Scholastic, 1998. ISBN-13: 9780590930024

Teague, Mark. How I Spent My Summer Vacation. Crown, 1995. ISBN-13: 9780517885567

Teague, Mark. Moog-Moog, Space Barber. Scholastic, 1990. ISBN-13: 9780439781220

Critics have said

Melinda Long's story, narrated with a sense of boastful exaggeration by Jeremy, is full of a sense of high adventure that's lovingly evocative of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tales. David Shannon's illustrations, full of a goofy vibrancy, are a perfect accompaniment to the story.
John Moe,
This rollicking adventure is sure to be a favorite with the storytime crowd.
Laurie Edwards, School Library Journal
The illustrator's deep, lush colors are as fresh as a tropical ocean breeze, while Long's text makes for a terrifically thoughtful romp. One yo-ho-hilarious voyage!
Matt Warner, The Barnes & Noble Review
Caldecott Honor-winner Shannon spices up this spirited pirate tale with vivid, appropriately zany acrylics.
Child Magazine