Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Uncle Pirate

Uncle Pirate

Illustrator:  Tony Auth 
For ages 7 to 9
Simon and Schuster, 2008   ISBN: 1416947620

Wilson is small, he wears glasses, and the bullies at his school love to make his life miserable. One day Wilson is sitting at the dinner table with his parents when his mother puts one her delicious pumpkin pies on the table. Wilson and his father know that Mom only makes pumpkin pie when she has bad news to impart. Reluctantly she shows her husband and son a letter from the navy. Apparently, the navy found Mom’s brother on an island off Antarctica and they are sending this brother to Mom. This news is truly astonishing news because Wilson and his father had no idea that Mom had a brother.

They barely have time to digest this news when Mom’s brother, Bob, arrives. Wilson does not know what to think when he sees his uncle for the first time. The man is dressed like a pirate, he has a patch over one eye, a peg leg, he is armed with two pistols and a cutlass, and he is accompanied by a penguin. Wilson soon finds out that his uncle is an honest to goodness pirate who has no home, no money, and is in need of a job.

After managing to mess up two jobs in quick succession, Uncle Pirate goes to Wilson’s school with his “nevvy” to arrange for his penguin, Captain Jack, to be educated. Uncle Pirate has taught Captain Jack how to speak, and now the penguin wants to learn how to read and write as well.

When they get to Wilson’s school, Captain Pirate soon sees that the school is a disaster area. The students are out of control, and the staff are either indifferent to, or terrified of, the kids. Without wasting any time, Uncle Pirate decides to take the students in Wilson’s class in hand, and the results of his efforts are quite astonishing.

In this deliciously funny novel, Douglas Rees introduces us to Uncle Pirate and we cannot help wishing he was a real live person. With his unusual approach to life, and his wonderfully piratical way of speaking, Uncle Pirate is truly one of kind.