How I Became a Pirate, by Melinda Long
A few years ago my husband and I were in San Francisco for some business meetings and found ourselves in a little gift shop near Fisherman’s Warf looking for a gift for our 2 small children. We came across “How I Became a Pirate” by Melina Long. I hadn’t ever heard of Melina Long but I had heard of David Shannon, the illustrator. After reading the first 3 pages, I knew this was a book I just had to take home with me. The pictures are outstanding (would we expect less from David Shannon?), the terminology is imaginative (yet avoids cliché and distracting slang), and the story line is just what I imagine a 6 year old would be conjuring up while playing on the beach.
After spending an evening and a terrifying night with a bunch of rowdy pirates the little boy discovers all the things that Pirates don’t do both good and bad. True, pirates don’t have to eat there vegetables but they also don’t read bed time stories OR give good night kisses. After all is said and done the verdict is, that being a regular boy at home with Mom and Dad provides the best situation for a kid who has soccer practice on Saturday, even if there is teeth brushing involved.
One of the most difficult concepts to teach a young child is that life is full of give and take. Yes, you may get to run through the sprinklers on a hot summer afternoon but you will also have to take a bath and clean yourself up when you are done. When good things are taken away (ice cream for dessert) the less pleasant things (practicing the piano) don’t seem to be such a big deal. If only young children could learn this idea a little sooner there would be far fewer arguments, at least at my house!
Don’t forget to read Melinda Long’s sequel, “Pirates Don’t Change Diapers”.