Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Blackbeard: The Pirate King

Blackbeard: The Pirate King

J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrator:  Michael Ed. Lewis 
Poetry
For ages 7 to 10
National Geographic, 2006   ISBN: 978-0792255857

Blackbeard was a man whostruck terror into the hearts of those who encountered him. Though we cannot be sure what his real name was, and though there are few descriptions of him, there can be no doubt that he was one of the most feared pirates of all time, and his adventures have been the subject of tales and stories for hundreds of years.

In this wonderfully written collection of poems, J. Patrick Lewis tells a series of  "yarns detailing the legends, myths, and real-life adventures of history's most notorious seaman." Among other things, we hear about why Teach - one of the names that Blackbeard was given - may have become a pirate, and how he captured a French ship and made it his own. Accompanying the poems is collection of illustrations which portray Blackbeard and which were created by such people as N.C. Wyeth and Howard Pyle. In addition to the poems, the author has written notes to annotate the artwork and to provide background information on Blackbeard and piracy in the 1700's. At the back of the book there is an author's note which includes a map showing the areas where Blackbeard sailed his ships. There is also an excellent "Blackbeard's Time Line," which will give the reader a real sense of what the man's life was like.

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