Pirates: Dead Men’s Tales

Publisher: Carlton Kids

Pirates have been roaming and marauding the seas for hundreds of years, but what do we really know about the historical reality? And would we really want to be a pirate, given the likelihood of early death, disease and violence? Famous and not-so-famous pirates such as Blackbeard, the Barbarossa Brothers, Mary Read, Anne Bonny and Zheng Shi are profiled alongside detailed chapters about pirate life, geography, treasure and battle tactics.

It's slightly unfortunate that the title of the book is Dead Men's Tales, as this large and beautifully designed hardback – that will appeal to both adventure-loving boys and girls – contains details about three famous woman pirates, too.

The text is careful to remind children that piracy is criminal, violent and unsavoury, and treads this line between fascinating historical information and cautionary tale well. Joe Wilson's illustration is also stunning and evocative.

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