Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Night Pirates

Thanks to my dear friends who hosted a Build-A-Library shower (how perfect is that?!) for me before my daughter was born, Gorilla has a bookshelf in her bedroom filled with books that feature princesses and ballerinas and fairies and more pink, purple and teal than I've maybe ever seen in one place.  So perhaps it's ironic that the first "girl" book I'm reviewing is about...pirates.  Yes, pirates.  We celebrate femininity around here, but we also appreciate books that break the mold in some way.  According to my note in the front of my copy of The Night Pirates* by Peter Harris, I purchased it in June of 2006.

My husband wouldn't make his way on the scene until later that summer and I didn't have children of my own, but I distinctly remember carrying this book around the Barnes & Noble at which I worked, trying to convince everyone with kids, (especially girls), to buy it.  Children's books are my passion and I can happily discuss them for hours, but there are only a few that I felt so strongly about as this one.

The story opens on a dark, mysterious night.  "Down down down the dark dark street they came.  Quiet as mice, stealthy as shadows." Stealthy?  I love it!  Why not have a vocabulary lesson while we're at it?  Each carefully chosen word paints the picture.  We meet Tom, a nice, brave little boy who's in his bed, about to have an adventure.  And then we meet the pirates, matey!  Pirates?  Oh, yes.  Rough, tough little girl pirates.  The little girl pirates need the front of Tom's house for a disguise, but do they turn him down when he asks to join them?  ("And did the girl captain say, 'Certainly not!  You're only a boy!' Oh no, not at all!  Instead she roared 'Welcome aboard!"')  I appreciate a great story as much and probably more than the next guy, but at the end of the day I'm a mom first, and I've got to admit to loving the inclusive attitude of our little girl pirates.  Speaking of inclusive, my big boy loves nothing more than his baby sister, and this is how they cuddled up to enjoy the story:

Tom and the little girl pirates have a wonderful adventure which includes sailing, rough, tough grown-up pirates, treasure, and escape!  The little girl pirates return Tom and the front of his house to their rightful places, and you and your wee pirates can have a good time figuring out what's not quite right on the last page.

One of my favorite things about picture books is the way anything is possible.  For me, it's refreshing to take a mental break from the cooking and laundry and dishes and bills and go to a place in which little girl pirates casually swipe the front of the house for an evening, attach it to their ship, and sneak up on grown-ups, undetected.  I don't think you or your (male or female) kiddos will be disappointed by this one.

*This link is to the pop-up version, which I've actually never seen.  My copy is a traditional hardcover, which appears to no longer be in print.


  1. KF is one of those little girl pirates! Love it. Good work, Sally. Can't get enough go big boy's hair. How did you make that wish come true???

  2. Of not go. correct

  3. I wish I knew KF well enough to know that about her. :-( Big boy's hair's just one of those awesome blessings. Honestly, I kind of feel like I get/got everything I ever asked for. What a life! Love you!