Pirate vs. Pirate
written by Mary Quattlebaum; illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
2011 (Hyperion Books)
Source: Mebane Public Library
Bad Bart rules the high seas of the Atlantic while Mean Mo controls the waters of the Pacific. What happens when these two fierce pirates meet in the middle? A standoff that can only be settled by a contest that doesn't destroy ships. A swimming race, among the sharks, between the two ruffians only yields a tie. Subsequent battles involving cannonball throwing, mast climbing, arm wrestling, and hardtack eating fail to find a winner. The only thing left for the two pirates to do is to count their treasures and see which scurvy dog has the most. Avast, they both have the same amount! This leads to a surprise twist that may change maritime history.
Pirate vs. Pirate is a sweet and funny read that would make for interesting lessons on author's purpose and prediction. I appreciate Mary Quattlebaum's playful use of font and end marks. Thoughtful discussions could be built around the question of why some phrases are in bold. A page of this book could also be used to teach young writers how to use quotation marks. I would also ask students to predict which pirate was going to win this battle and why. A fun writing activity would be to list a couple of the similes from Pirate vs. Pirate and develop a list of pirate specific similes. I nominate "shiny as a swabbed deck."
Here is a link to Mary Quattlebaum's website which has more classroom activities.
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