A Pirate's Guide to First Grade by James Preller

9780312369286Lynn: Ahoy me hearties! Here’s a whale of a tale perfect for the young buccaneers heading to back to school. A Pirate’s Guide to First Grade (Feiwel 2010) chronicles a small boy’s first day at school accompanied by his invisible pirate crew. Every step from “shining his snappers” to meeting “the new cap’n Silver – and a fine old salt was she ” – is written in buoyant pirate jargon that bounds off the page. The illustrations are irresistable. The little boy with his tousled red hair is drawn in bright colors while his imaginary pirate mates are sketched around him in brown pencil tones. The bold pictures and large size makes this a terrific book for a group while the plentiful humorous details also make it a rewarding lap book. Reassuring and packed with humor, this is a perfect choice for any small swabbie feeling a little nervous about setting sheets to the wind for first grade. Our focus group who will be starting second grade soon loved this too even though they think they’re seasoned veterans these days. Arrrr!

Cindy: Do you know what they charge pirates to get their ears pierced? A buck an ear! Harrr. Sorry, it’s my favorite pirate joke. This book is a fun spin on the back to school tale with lots of visual humor and a reassuring tone. My favorite illustration of Greg Ruth’s is the one of the young lass walking the plank (a teeter totter being held horizontal). I also appreciate the author and illustrator’s inclusion of just how tiring it is to be at school for a whole day. I’m headed back next week and I am ready for a nap already. The nod to libraries and reading at the book’s close is a nice touch too. There’s a beginner’s pirate talk glossary waiting at the end of the book for young land lubbers who need to brush up on their pirate vocabulary. As Gillian Engberg points out in her review linked above, this book is just in time for September 19th’s Talk Like a Pirate Day. Dinosaurs and pirates all in the same week. Hmmmm…I think we may need to inject some estrogen in our picture book selection process!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

3 Comments on "A Pirate's Guide to First Grade by James Preller"

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  1. edspicer@mac.com' Ed Spicer says:

    School begins soon, nominations are due, and we have a new dog. These events have kept me from the blogs. So, what a treat to see the book I have slotted for my first day of school read aloud in Bookends! I love the way Greg Ruth invites students to explore and compare the world of imagination with the real world. The color shifts work very well with the text. I especially love the treasure at the end of the book proving once again that any student may find things near and dear to his or her heart in the library! Also, this book strikes a chord with me because I have, in the past, assigned “homework” of coming to school with an eye patch and parrot and reading pirate books to our class and other classrooms in our school. I will let you know how my first day story goes.

  2. edspicer@mac.com' Ed Spicer says:

    Wildly popular! My whole class was enthralled, laughed all the way through, and said “READ IT AGAIN!” upon finishing.

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