Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Short and Bloody History of Pirates by John Farman

This is how I think a non-fiction book for reluctant readers should be written.

It has a breezy, humorous tone. The text is substantial as opposed to the tiny boxes and snippets of text found in many non-fiction books intended to appeal to the modern reader. It is arranged into manageable sections broken up by headings and cartoonish pictures that do not overwhelm the text but make for good visual appeal.

The information on pirates is not sketchy. Written in an engaging manner, it’s thorough and covers a wide range. A reader of any age will come away with new information on pirates, unless they already have a degree in piratical history. (Is there such a degree and wouldn’t that be cool?)

You can find out about:
* pirate recipes
* pirate music
* pirate rules
* pirate diseases
* famous pirates; women pirates; and other sundry factoids

Best of all, this author has 30 non-fiction books penned already. More intriguing titles with the word “bloody” in them can be had if your child likes this one. Enjoy! (I did.)

It does mention stabbings, beheadings, and other pirate miseries and violent behavior. Though mostly written with children in mind, it can (albeit rarely) get too blunt for young tweens about certain details: “ …pirates would be sailing for months or even years at a time. When they’d hit the seaports, they’d typically seek out brothels (whorehouses), where they often caught horrendous incurable diseases from the ladies of easy virtue.”

SAFETY RATING: 2 Vatican Flags


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