Title: The Pirate Captain’s Logbookthe pirate captain's logbook1
Author: Sue Unstead
Illustrator: Brian Lee
Pages: 48
Recommended Ages: 10 & up
Star Rating: ★★★★

Argh! Ahoy there! If ye don’t surrender I’ll blow ye straight to Davy Jones’ locker!


Few topics fire the imagination so thoroughly as that phenomenon of the seas, the pirate. His ways, dress, mannerisms, and black eye-patch comprise a culture all of their own. But what makes a pirate a pirate? And what separates a great pirate from a mediocre one?

The Pirate Captain’s Logbook reminded me of How to Be a Knight in that it was written by a father to his son to teach him how to master his profession.

This being the record kept by me, Joshua Blackthorn, Captain of the brigantine Silverswift.

This is the account of my voyage in the waters off New England and the Indies. It is also a guide for my son, who will one day follow in his father’s footsteps. Within these pages you will discover many secrets known only to the most cunning and fearless pirates. Prepare yourself for the journey ahead – it’s bound to be stormy. Shed no tears for me if I do not return. [pg. 4]

Here are a few of the interesting lessons that Captain Blackthorn records for his son. This on how to choose a crew.

Watch a man walk along the harbor road. If he rolls from side to side, he’ll likely stand firm on a pitching deck. Just make sure those are sea legs – not ten shots of rum. Wooden leg? Not so good for climbing the rigging, but a pirate who has survived the loss of a limb is probably a tough turtle. If he can climb a gangplank with a crutch, he’ll be fit for the galley or down below. A hook can double for a missing hand, but only for deck duties, not aloft. [pg. 6]

Captain Blackthorn goes on to explain the necessary qualifications for the different members of the crew. He also describes the basics of sailing, knot tying, identifying ships, and boarding enemy vessels. Lots of fun sailor information as well as pirate adventuring.


It is declared that “Neptune stirs up sea monsters from the deep.” [pg. 20]

One sailor claims he’s seen a mermaid.

One page shows different versions of the Jolly Roger – not all are so refined as the one we commonly see. Weapons and attacks are discussed. The ‘hempen jig’ – i.e., hanging – is discussed.

Conclusion. Your adventure-seeking children will love this vibrant buccaneer tale.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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