Pirate Stew

A slightly cautionary rhyming tale about what might happen if you hire a pirate as a babysitter.

As the two unnamed children’s parents leave for an evening out, babysitter, pirate and ship’s cook Long John McRon arrives. The children take one look at him and suspect they are doomed, which they are, but not for the reasons one might expect. The children’s suspicion and their comparative conservatism, set against the (mostly) adult pirates’ enthusiasm and energy, remain entertaining throughout.

Next, Long John McRon’s crew appear. The detailed and colourful images refer to many fictional pirates, although here they are not villains, but a mutually supportive group who insist on paying their way. They are also ethnically and otherwise diverse (as are the family) and the stereotypes of disability as villainous that typify historical pirate narratives are undermined.

Despairing of what is in the family’s fridge, Long John McRon uses a mixture of food, ships fittings, and pirate treasure to make a pirate stew. Again, the glory is in the playful references.

The children, listening carefully to what the pirates sing, realise that if they eat the stew they will turn into pirates, so they quietly avoid doing so. However, when their parents return, still hungry after their meal out, they eat the stew intended for the children. As the children report at the end, rather solemnly and disappointedly, the rhyme was true, and they now have pirate parents. I love the way they are unhappy about this. Great fun throughout.

Book Cover - Pirate Stew
Author
Illustrator
Reviewer
Publication Date
October 2020
Format
Hardback
Pages
48
ISBN
9781526614728