Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Ballad of The Pirate Queens

Yolen, Jane. 1995. THE BALLAD OF THE PIRATE QUEENS. Ill. by David Shannon. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace & Co.

Plot Summary
The female pirate duo, Anne Bonney and Mary Reade take on the "Man-o'-war" whilst the men of the ship, including Calico Jack himself, drink their cares away.  The pirate queens put up a strong fight but they were eventually overtaken and put on trial, saved only by the bumps in their bellies.

Critical Analysis
Pirate language, a catchy refrain and vivid acrylic colors make Yolen's story of the legendary female pirates come to life.  The Ballad of the Pirate Queen easily lends itself to chanting and singing.  The retelling of this infamous true story of Anne Bonney and Mary Reade come to life, and the details of the ladies' fight and fervor are not spared.  The women show a courageous strength that was unheard of during the 1700s.  The quote from wife to husband while passing along his cell is a far cry from the apologetic or subservient women's role of the time period.  The wily circumvention of the maids and vision of the next generation allow the readers imagination to carry on after the last page.  

Review Excerpts

"This rollicking ballad is offbeat and grimly amusing." - By Publishers Weekly, 1998

"Shannon's acrylics are rich, dark, and realistic, and expand upon the story." - School Library Journal:  Putnam, 1992

"The eighteenth-century feeling is enhanced by pen-and-ink borders and the use of a parchment-colored background for the text.  Pirate fans will enjoy Yolen's informative author's note." - Booklist:  McDermott, 1995

  • Children can create a message in a bottle, and include a bucket list of goals that they want to achieve throughout life.  They outside can be decorated with adventurous words.
  • Readers can research pirates' pillages and crimes and hold a moot trial.
  • After reading the book, readers can write a pirate style shanty.  

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