Pirate-themed books can tide children over until 'World's End'

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Can't wait for the May 25 opening of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"? There's a small treasure chest of pirate-themed books already out there to tide children over -- and they might learn something in the process.

An official Disney book published by Reader's Digest Children's Books called "The Journey to World's End" does indeed give a sneak peek at the movie's story line, which centers on the struggle between the pirates and the East India Trading Company over who will control the seas. Some of the striking photos from the film show Elizabeth Swann being mistaken as Calypso, a legendary goddess, a barnacle-covered Bootstrap Bill Turner and a dashing Jack Sparrow back at the helm of the Black Pearl.

Attached to the book is a compass viewer, which works both as a working compass and as a picture viewer for 40 scenes from the movie.

"Pirateology: Guidebook and Model Set" from Candlewick Press is even more interactive. It's a challenge from Capt. William Lubber, who sends instructions and tools to his friend Samuel Shute -- and readers -- so they'll recognize a pirate known as Captain Carlton when he arrives in Boston's port under guard to receive punishment. There also is a model of his boat, known as The Swiftback.

But Captain Carlton in some ways is also a turncoat and provides to Lubber rich details about the pirate's life, which Lubber, in turn, shares. He describes the weapons on board, the significance of pirate flags and clues to a hidden treasure. Lubber hasn't cracked the code but maybe a 21st century pirate hunter can.

The real-life stories of 13 seafaring villains are detailed in "Pirates: Most Wanted," published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Author John Matthews labels William Kidd, Charlotte de Berry and Edward "Blackbeard" Teach among the most notorious medieval pirates. He chronicles their dastardly deeds, their weapons of choice and their final acts. Kidd, for one, was captured and tried in London in 1701. After he was executed, his body was coated in tar and hung in a public place to serve as a warning to would-be pirates.

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