How to Be a Pirate
How to Be a Pirate
Bookroo4.2 / 7Goodreads4.2 / 5
The Definitive Guide to

How to Be a Pirate

Written by Isaac Fitzgerald & illustrated by Brigette Barrager
Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books
Prices as of Sep 17

What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

Less about pirates and more about a grandfather and granddaughter relationship, this unpredictable book falls short of its potential.

The story begins in the endpapers, showing a group of boys in a treehouse telling Cece she can’t be a pirate. Cece is mad—“Who were those boys to say she couldn’t be a pirate?” Remembering that her grandpa had been on a boat and has tattoos (like pirates), she goes to visit him for lessons on how to be a pirate. Her burly but kind-looking grandpa uses his illustrative tattoos to teach characteristics of a pirate: bravery, quick reactions, having fun, independence, and love. With each tattoo, Barrager pulls Cece and Grandpa into the featured, corresponding tattoo scene: like the pair flying on eagles after Grandpa shows the eagle tattoo that represents independence. After her lessons, Cece charges back to the chagrined boys, takes control of the crow’s nest, and all the mateys have a grand time playing pirate together. Timeless illustrations start in a classic tone and begin to magnify to a saturated, bright style with the first tattoo lesson. The story begins to feel a tad cheesy and unexpected with the loss of the softer color scheme, the lack of an actual story shared behind each tattoo, and the childish responses of “Wheee!” and “Yippee!” from Cece. While having a positive message of confidence, a unique take on the pirate topic, and a lovely relationship between a grandfather and granddaughter, the story falls flat after its initial charm.

What Kind of Book is How to Be a Pirate


What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • When CeCe wants to learn more about pirates, she goes to her grandpa because he's been on a boat. Who do you turn to when you have questions?
  • Grandpa told CeCe some great behaviors to help her know how to be the best pirate (loving, independent, quick, and brave). What other things do you know about pirates?


Book Lists That Include This Book

The Creatives Behind the Book

What Has Isaac Fitzgerald Said About This Book

Nothing yet! You should let Isaac Fitzgerald know that you want to hear from them about their book.

What Has Brigette Barrager Said About This Book

Nothing yet! You should let Brigette Barrager know that you want to hear from them about their book.

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Book Details

Publication Date
March 3, 2020
Text Details
Typeset in Blueprint MT Sd
Illustration Details
Art created with pencil, colored pencil, and ink washes composited in Photoshop
Page Count
Reading Age
3 - 6 years
Lib. of Congress (LCCN)

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Core Score - 59%

More than halfway there—keep going!

Depth Score - 28%

Just the barebones.

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