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How I Became a Pirate

Last updated Monday, August 28, 2006

Author: Melinda Long
Date of Publication: 2003
ISBN: 0152018484
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2006

Synopsis: From School Library Journal Long has selected an irresistible combination for this age group-pirates and soccer. Jeremy Jacob is building a sand castle when a pirate ship lands nearby. His parents are preoccupied with other chores, so he takes off for an adventure on the high seas to help the men bury their treasure chest. He learns that buccaneers don't bother with manners or bedtimes, which is just fine with him, but it also means no bedtime stories or being tucked in. He tries to teach the pirates to play soccer, at least until the ball gets swallowed by a shark. When a storm hits, forcing the crew to return to shore, Jeremy solves the dilemma of where to bury the treasure-in his own backyard. He even makes it home in time for soccer practice. Paired with Shannon's energetic acrylics of a colorful crew of pop-eyed, snaggly toothed pirates seen from a variety of zany viewpoints (including upside down) and a small boy who is clearly having the time of his life, this rollicking adventure is sure to be a favorite with the storytime crowd.

Note to readers:
•  Throughout this book, there is big print to indicate all the pirates shout something in unison to repeat what their captain has just said. Either on the first reading, or during a second reading, have the children shout together the words of the pirates.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What are pirates? What stories do you know about pirates? [Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean]
•  Have you ever played pirates?
•  What are some of the symbols of pirates? [skull and crossbones flag, sailing ship, black eye-patch, parrots]
•  Would you want to be a pirate? Why or why not?
•  Do you like to go to the beach? Do you ever build sandcastles in the sand?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Does Jeremy seem afraid of the pirates? Would you be afraid?
•  Describe some of the pirates Jeremy meets. What do they look like? Why is the captain?s name Braid Beard?
•  What pirate words does Jeremy learn? What does Jeremy like about dinner on the pirate ship?
•  What things make Jeremy think he doesn?t want to be a pirate any more?
•  What soccer team is Jeremy on?
•  Jeremy?s pretending is about pirates and the adventures he could have with them? What sorts of pretend adventures do you have? What do you like to pretend to be? Who do you play pretend games with?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a pirate flag?the Jolly Roger?out of black and white construction paper.
•  Make a paper hat out of newspaper. (Bring ahead your own newspaper.)
•  Make an eye patch out of construction paper and yarn/string.

Special activities:
•  Have a parade wearing the hat and eye patch or waving the flags; sing pirate songs or yell pirate words (scurvy dog, landlubber, down the hatch!)

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!