Mary Quattlebaum


Pirate vs. Pirate

Awards and Reviews

"An all-around winner."--Publishers Weekly

"Rip-roaring pirate yarn."—Booklist

"Four-Arrrrrr! rating."--School Library Journal

The Story

Who is the mightiest pirate in the world?  Bad Bart and Mean Mo both want that honor.  And so they hold a series of contests:  swimming with sharks, hurling cannonballs, and eating hardtack.  Aarrr!  The final contest—treasure counting--will decide the winner.  This lively story, full of sea-dog lingo, will appeal to both girls and boys.  Boys will root for Bad Bart, girls for Mean Mo—and in the end … well, that’s a BIG swashbuckling surprise.

Pirate and Writing Games

1.Make a list of all the “pirate” words (“ahoy,” “avast,” “bilge rat”) in the book.  You can sprinkle them in your regular conversations but especially use them on September 19, which is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  On that day, you can join people all over the world in saying “Aarrr” and singing sea chanteys.  Check for more pirate words, songs, history, and party tips.

2.Write your own tale of a contest.  Create two characters who both want the same thing.  Maybe they both want to be the best soccer player on the team or own the fanciest cell phone or have the pinkest room or roast the most marshmallows.  What happens?  How do you, the author, decide which character wins and how?

3.Pirates and poetry—what a fine combination!  Write a pirate acrostic, in which the first letter of each line also spells out the word “pirate” or “parrot” or “treasure” or even “Blackbeard,” a famous pirate.  Try it!




And dreaming of


Even while

Swabbing the deck.

Pour grog

Ink tattoos

Raise a ruckus

Aim cannons

Take treasure

Eat hardtack

Sail the seven seas.

Read about Pirates

How I Became a Pirate, by Melinda Long, illustrated by David Shannon (Harcourt, ages 3 to 8).  Piratical hi-jinks starring a real boy.

Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC, by June Sobel, illustrated by Henry Cole (Sandpiper, ages 3 to 7).  Alphabet fun with playful pirates.

The Pirateology Handbook, edited by Dugald Steer and Clint Twist (Candlewick, ages 8 and up).  Abounds in facts about secret treasure, pirate ships, and historical buccaneers such as Grace O’Malley and the Barbarossa Brothers.

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