Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

See-Through Pirates

See-Through Pirates

Kelly Davis
Nonfiction Novelty Book
For ages 8 to 12
Running Press Kids, 2003   ISBN: 978-0762415878

Pirates have sailed the world's seas from the very beginning, threatening ancient Greek, Roman, and Phoenician commerce and giving even the great emperor Pompey a headache and cause for worry. Even in this day and age of computers, spy satellites and super-tankers, pirates are a problem, particularly in Asian waters. This colorful and fact packed book describes all aspects of pirate history, explaining how piracy came to be a way of life for so many.

There were different "levels" of piracy. One could be a privateer with official approval and support given by a world government to raid the ships owned by another world government. Sir Frances Drake was a privateer for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I, seizing Spanish ships that were bound for Spain from the Spanish Main. On the other hand one could also be a pirate who acted outside the law. Bartholomew "Bart" Roberts was such a man. He took ships that crossed his path that were well loaded with goods and that he could sell for profit.

What is refreshing about this book is the fact that is does not glamorize the pirate life but describes it as it was. At the same time it describes all sorts of interesting details that one does not often hear about. For example we learn that pirates had a form of law, a set of rules that every man on the ship lived by. If a pirate was injured in battle he was compensated out of the general purse. If the captain did not do the job properly he was removed and replaced. Who would have thought that there would be a form of democracy on a pirate ship?

The illustrations throughout the book are detailed and offer much to look at. In addition one can look at certain scenes with, and without, plastic overlay sheets; the see-through elements in the book. There are four see-through pages in all. Fully annotated and with "Pirate points" boxes this is a book that offers a great deal for the reader to browse through.