Preschool Pirating

Have we all gone stir crazy yet?

Imagine if you were on a 17th century ship, with nothing around you but ocean for three months – or six months. Sure, you didn’t have bored kids fighting over whose turn it is with the TV, or a toddler screaming that Tickle Me Elmo is out of batteries again, but eventually that parrot is going to look pretty tasty when all you’ve had to eat is wormy hardtack and stale beer. If you’ve ever been to the Charles P. Morgan at Mystic Seaport, or the Mayflower up in Plymouth, Mass, or Old Ironsides in Boston proper, you know that those ships are pretty tiny on a ten minute walk-through. Now cram them with fifty people for three months, and suddenly your 1500 square foot house doesn’t seem so bad. At least you’re not seasick.

Pirates, whether illegal or privateers working for King and Country, were often violent men – and a few women – who were not very nice. But legends and lore get romanticized, and pirates – whether Captain Hook, Jack Sparrow, Long John Silver, or Blackbeard himself, and kids are attracted to each other the way ants love sugar. Fancy hats, eye patches, wooden legs, cannons, swords, boats, and treasure – how cool is that?

When a new dog-proof garbage can arrived in a box larger than my three year old, it became her favorite toy of the month, and for one of the weeks we turned it into a pirate ship. Anything that keeps a bored three year old busy for a week deserves to be bronzed. We hung a garden flag from a broom handle for a sail, used a brass fastener to make a spinning wheel, dug out costumes from the older kids, watched a lot of preschool pirate videos and read a lot of pirate books. I drew a simple outline map of our living room and taught her to read maps by placing candy in various places as treasure, and marking X on the map. By the third candy, she was proficient on her own. Then we built our finale.

Using balloons, some Cheshire Herald strips, and a little watered down Elmer’s Glue, we made some cannon balls, and then painted them the next day. Then we built our cannon. The cannon balls were about 5 ½ inches, too big for a standard paper tube. But they worked just perfectly for a paint can! So we scavanged a paint can from the garage, which, thankfully, had only an inch of dried paint in the bottom. And these new-fangled plastic paint cans? The paint doesn’t stick! A few taps and peels, and all that dead paint came falling right out. A quick rinse, and we were good. I cut the bottom off with my Ginsu knife (a product that has lived up to every claim ever made on it – thirty years later it still cuts fences AND tomatoes, and plastic paint cans). I strung a piece of waistband elastic across the hole, held tight by Gorilla Tape, and we had our cannon. It was tricky getting the right angle, but pull the elastic back far enough with the cannon ball sitting on it, and we could get the ball to shoot four or five feet, which is plenty inside a house.

We won Preschool Zoom that week.

So scrounge your house, and see what you can come up with! With warmer weather, try staking out a ship outside with lawn chairs or wooden pallets.  Anything that keeps a kid busy and sparks some interest is a good thing – and they just might learn something.  And by the way, Saturday September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day – check out these awesome stories to get you in the pirate mindset:

Pirate’s Perfect Pet        Pirates Go to School               Peter Pan   

Pirates Past Noon           Pinkalicious and the Pirates

Pirates Don’t Take Baths        No Pirates Allowed, Said Library Lou

Pirates Don’t Change Diapers        Sea Queens:  Women Pirates Around the World

  Treasure Island      Pirates of the Caribbean     Jake and the Never Land Pirates 

Pirates: Books, Movies, and Pirate Language Lessons

September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day.  There are many ways to celebrate. Dress like a pirate, talk like a pirate, watch a pirate movie, and, of course, read about pirates.

What’s your pleasure, matey?

How to Talk Like a Pirate: Take Pirate language lessons from Mango Languages. Available online from the Cheshire Library’s eResources page. Click on the Languages button and login to Mango to learn the proper way to talk on the high seas.

Pirate Movies. We’ve not only got all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but  several other pirate films and TV series, too.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (DVD – Animation)
After years of failed attempts to win the Pirate of the Year Award, Pirate Captain and his oddball crew go on a race to pillage the most booty.

Pirates: Dead Men Tell Their Tales (Downloadable)
Step back in time and discover the magic of the real Pirates of the Caribbean investigating the stories of Blackbeard, Sir Henry Morgan, Captain Kidd,  Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

 Treasure Planet (DVD – Animation)
Young Jim is given a map that charts the course to Treasure Planet, a distant world where hundreds of space pirates have stashed their loot.

Black Sails: The Complete First Season (DVD)
In 1715 New Providence Island is controlled by notorious pirate captains, and the most feared is Captain Flint. As the British Navy returns to exterminate Flint and his crew, Flint allies himself with Eleanor Guthrie, daughter of the local kingpin.

Cutthroat Island (DVD)
Morgan Adams, the female captain of a pirate ship, is on a treasure hunt for millions of pounds of gold buried on Cutthroat Island. She and her uncles each hold sections of the map to the treasure, but her Uncle Dawg would rather kill everyone in his way, including his niece.

Captain Blood (DVD)
A swashbuckling classic. After he treats wounded English rebels, physician Peter Blood (Errol Flynn) is arrested and sentenced to slavery in Jamaica. But Blood leads fellow slaves in an escape and strikes terror into the Jamaicans as the pirate Captain Blood.

Books about pirates.

Pirate by Clive Cussler (Fiction)
Confronted by a determined adversary, husband-and-wife treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo embark on an international quest involving an eight-hundred-year-old relic and a brutal murder. Also available as an eBook.

 

Pirate King by Laurie R. King (Fiction)
Mary Russell, wife to Sherlock Holmes, is traveling undercover along with a film crew that is ready to shoot a pirate movie. When the crew embarks for their Morocco location, Russell feels a building storm of trouble:  a film crew with secrets, decks awash with romance, and now the the real buccaneers the studio has recruited to provide authenticity are ignoring the movie studio owner and answering only to their dangerous outlaw leader. Also available as an audiobook.

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson (Non-fiction)
Pirate Hunters’ is a gripping account of two courageous divers’ quest to uncover the shipwrecked vessel of Joseph Bannister, one of history’s most infamous pirates. Also available as an audiobook.

 

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (Young Adult Fiction)
Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map, pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies. Now the only thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate Riden. Her power to enchant with song makes her a formidable foe– Alosa is only half-human, the daughter of a pirate king and a siren.

Ahoy, It’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day Again!

Here is it, September 19 and my favorite holiday, International Talk like a Pirate Day! It is a day that always inspires the wearing of pirate hats and much shouting of ‘Ahoy! Matey’ and ‘Shiver me Timbers’ in my house. Thankfully my kids get into the day along side me, and so do a number of my friends and coworkers.
 piratequeen
Last year I created a list of picturebooks and related non-fiction children’s books to celebrate the day. We can revisit that post here. This year I am going to take a different look at pirates, and offer up a selection of adult non-fiction about pirates that will sate your desire for adventure and travel, and perhaps whet your appetite for even more information. If you are still looking for more after reading this post, we do have a display in the lobby, near the adult fiction, of pirate related books that just might catch your eye!

 

empireofbluewater1. The Pirate Hunter: the True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks

2.The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventurers, and the Dawn of Empire by Susan Ronald

3.The Pirates of Somalia: Inside their Hidden World by Jay Bahadur

4.Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan’s Great Pirate Army, the Epic deadmenBattle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe that Ended the Oulaws’ Bloody Reign by Stephan Talty

5.Dead Men Tell No Tales: the Lives and Legends of the Pirate Charles Gibbs by Joseph Gibbs

6.Blackbeard: the Real Pirate of the Caribbean by Dan Parry

7. Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How blackbearda Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved out an Empire in the New World in their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom–and Revenge by Edward Kritzler

For even more pirate information you might want to explore; The World Atlas of Pirates: Treasures and Treachery on the Seven Seas, in Maps, Tall Tales, and Pictures by Angus Konstam, The Pirate Coast: Thomas thepiratecoastJefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805 by Richard Zacks, Expedition Whydah: the Story of the World’s First Excavation of a Pirate Treasure Ship and the Man Who Found Her by Barry Clifford with Paul Perry, The Honourable Company: a History of the English East India Company by John Keay, Savage Kingdom: the True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America by Benjamin Woolley or A Pirate Looks at Fifty by Jimmy Buffett.

 

It’s National Talk Like Pirate Day, Celebrate with Picturebooks!

Today is National Talk Like Pirate Day! Celebrate this fun day with us by enjoying some great pirate themed picturebooks! Everyone loves a great pirate tale, and these are fun stories that you can share with the whole family while getting into the spirit of a silly holiday.

Pirate Pete’s Talk Like a Pirate by Kim Kennedy
In search of a crew, Pirate Pete and his parrot look for “stanky scallywags” who possess certain conversational skills.

The Pirate Princess by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Tired of the royal life, Princess Bea boards a pirate ship and sets out for adventure on the high seas but soon finds she is not good at swabbing decks, cooking in the galley, or keeping watch from the crow’s nest.

Small Saul by Ashley Spires
Small Saul is a different kind of pirate. Will Small Saul be able to prove his worth as a pirate or will he be thrown overboard?

Henry & the Buccaneer Bunnies by Carolyn Crim
Captain Barnacle Black Ear, baddest of the Buccaneer Bunnies, is ashamed of his book-loving son, Henry, until the day a great storm approaches.

You might also want to check out  The Pirates Next Door: Starring the Jolley-Rogers by Jonny Duddle, Pirate vs. Pirate: the Terrific Tale of a Big Blustery Maritime Match by Mary Quattlebaum, The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup, The No-Good Do-Good Pirates by Jim Kraft, or Henry & the Crazed Chicken Pirates by Carolyn Crimi.

Would you prefer to learn about real pirates instead of reading picturebooks, or to follow up a fun tale with factual adventures? Then check out these children’s nonfiction books that they whole family can enjoy.

The Pirate Queen by Emily Arnold McCully, Women of the Sea: Ten Pirate Stories by Myra Weatherly, Blackbeard, the Pirate King: Several Yarns Detailing the Legends, Myths, and Real-life Adventures of History’s Most Notorious Seaman: Told in Verse by J. Patrick Lewis, Pirates: Facts, Things to Make, Activities by Rachel Wright, I Wonder Why Pirates Wore Earrings: and Other Questions about Piracy by Pat Jacobs, Pirates by Peter Chrisp, Real Pirates the Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship by Barry Clifford, Pirates : Robbers of the High Seas by Gail Gibbons, and Sea Queens: Women Pirates around the World by Jane Yolen.