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Pirates, Ships, and Sailors: Twenty-Four Stories and Poems    by Kathryn Jackson, Byron Jackson & Gustaf Tenggren order for
Pirates, Ships, and Sailors
by Kathryn Jackson
Order:  USA  Can
Golden Books, 2006 (1950)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Ahoy, there mates! Those who grew up with this Golden Books delight (first published in 1950) are sure to want the reissued version for youngsters in their life. An oversized hardcover collection of twenty-four stories (in prose and poetry), Pirates, Ships, and Sailors incorporates a multitude of story angles, exceptionally written. Gustaf Tenggren's exquisite illustrations will keep readers turning pages just to look at the colorful characterizations and scenes. Come along on a reading journey that tantalize the imagination with tales of pirates, mermaids, sailors, and ocean-cruising vessels, whether cheerful and lifting, or tenebrous and portentous.

Kit lives in Pirates Cove, a perfect place when summer vacation comes around. He can swim in the bright sea, and explore caves. When he closes his eyes, Kit imagines pirates of old coming ashore, landing on the 'curved white beach', shaped like a 'brand-new moon'. Kit dreams, 'If he searched long enough, and dug deeply enough ... maybe a boy my size could find a chest full of old pirate gold!' Stowaway Judy watches sailboats practicing for a big racing event (number 3 is named Judy and the sailor is her father). She's determined to take part in the race, just to show braggarts Billy and Stevie that a six-year old can do it! She will be tacking, reefing, and 'sailing into the eye of the wind'. How? By hiding in the rope locker, but Judy worries, 'what if the sailboat gets turned over in the race?'

In The Careful, Cheerful Sailor, the captain is an unusual character. When asked by the crew where they are going, his response is 'I forget. Maybe we're going to latitude and maybe we're going to longitude.' Pirate's Glen is an intriguing tale in verse: 'Go shouting up the cobbled hill / But whisper in the glen - / You never know when you may meet / A band of pirate men ... Let's hurry up the ferny hill / And not come back again. / I don't believe I want to meet / A band of pirate men!' Meet Old Captain Garrett, another fine story in rhyme. He 'Walked with a limp, and he walked with a cane ... He dug in the sand with great vigor and pleasure, / and said he was digging for lost pirate treasure'. Townsfolk consider him crazed, but they're in for a surprise!

One of my favorites (though it's hard to choose) is a story about a little girl 'who went to the seashore for the first time'. In a shop window she sees The Wonderful Bottle, with a sailing ship inside of it. And, she wonders how did the ship get past the narrow neck of the bottle? In another, a little boy lives with his aunt by the sea. He loves to watch the big ships pass by as his aunt digs in the sand for 'cockles and mussels alive, alive-o'. He dreams of becoming a sailor some day. A ship's captain teaches him the meaning of Orders Is Orders. Then, Seafaring Tommy's a seaman on cleaning-house day: 'With a mop and some soap and a pail, / He swabs the front porch, and the steps in the yard / Till they shine like the back of a whale.'

A familiar title is The Flying Dutchman, told by Old Captain Garrett, who loves to tell stories of storms, whales, and desert islands. Then Twenty-Five Sailors Went Down to the Sea - in rhyme to numbers ... Yo ho ho! The Lighthouse captivates: 'A little boy who couldn't sleep / Sat tall up in his bed / and watched the lighthouse flashing / way out at Lobsterhead.' The young lad decides that when he grows up, he will be the lighthouse keeper and guide ships to safety, while the current lightkeeper looks to retirement and the comforts on land. There are lots more stories including the very heartwarming Rescue of the Sea Cow, Long-Ago Toby, Fog Horns, and Seagulls. Happy seafaring, mates!

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