Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Fiction: Pirates! (Picture Books)

My family was delighted with these unique Christmas stories.  I hope your family enjoys them too!
The Gingerbread Pirates (ages 5-9) by Kristin Kladstrup  
Jim and his mother bake gingerbread men together on Christmas Eve.  They decorate them to look like pirates, including Jim’s favorite Captain Cookie who has a cutlass and a peg leg.  Jim falls asleep with Captain Cookie by his bed while wishing the pirate leader had a ship of his own.  Captain Cookie ventures out to find his crew.  He does battle with a mouse, escaping with his cutlass half missing.   The Captain finds a couple of his crew members sitting out for Santa Claus.  They escape together to rescue the rest of the men from the Santa-shaped cookie jar.  An encounter with Santa and some Christmas magic occurs to give Captiain Cookie and Jim their Christmas wishes.   The narrative and illustrations are energetic, animated, and entertaining. 

A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas (ages 5-11) by Philip Yates  
On Christmas Eve, the pirates are “snorin’ like pigs in thar beds while vision of treasure chests danced in thar heads.”  The stillness of the night is interrupted with the arrival of Sir Peg with his eight giant sea horses pulling his sleigh from the depths of the sea.  He gives out pirate gifts—like cackle-fruit eggs, pieces of shank, and a new shiney plank--to the pirate crew, but he saves the best present for last, a treasure map!   Readers will shout for glee as they see Sir Peg and his sea horses splash back to the sea with a “Merry Christmas, me buckos, an’ a Happy New Yaargghhhhhhh!”  The lively and creative illustrations compliment the poetic narrative.  This imaginative retelling of a beloved Christmas poem is a thrilling pirate fantasy. 

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