Friday, June 14, 2013

PPBF: The Pirate Meets the Queen

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

The Pirate Meets the Queen, by Matt Faulkner

The Pirate Meets the Queen
Written and illustrated by Matt Faulkner
Philomel, 2005, Fiction,
ages 6-10

Adventure, Pirates, Historical fiction, Irish legend, Strong female characters (but not a role model!)

"Tis very odd, you know, the things they say about you after you've been dead awhile. I've heard the tales they tell. Some call me a pirate."

The Pirate Meets the Queen is the slightly embellished, but nonetheless fascinating tale of 16th century Irish pirate, Grace "Granny" O'Malley. Faulkner chronicles Granny from her unorthodox youth, through her days of motherhood, culminating in her historic meeting with Queen Elizabeth.

What I Love:
Who doesn't love a good pirate story? This one has the added bonuses of being about a female pirate, and being based on a true story. The main character is hardly sympathetic, though the author spins the tale a bit in her favor. Matt Faulkner's energetic illustrations are just fantastic enough to be legend, and just realistic enough to be historical. His attention to detail breathes life into the Elizabethan world.

Stephanie Block on Broadway in The Pirate Queen,
2007, from the creators of Les Miserables
1. For more on the creation of this book, check Matt's blog, where he also features sketches from Jack London to Dungeons and Dragons.
2. There's much more to know about the real Grace O'Malley. You can visit her landmark in Ireland, read Granuaile, by Anne Chambers, or listen to the Broadway version of her story, The Pirate Queen by Boublil and Shonberg.
3. There are over 30 crafty piratey ideas collected on Nurturestore.
4. A pirate book is an excellent excuse to play dress-up. Gird on your pool noodle sword. Turn your couch into a sailing ship. Draw your own map and have a treasure hunt.
5. While sherbet ships might be more fun to eat, here's an eye-opening list of real pirate foods including a recipe for hardtack.

The statue of Grace O'Malley,
by Michael Cooper
at Westport House
EXTRA! EXTRA! I'm giving away a copy of The Pirate Meets the Queen at the end of the month. The giveaway runs from June 16-30, 2013. Check this blog on Sunday (6-16-13) for details, or follow me on Twitter to receive the notice to enter!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday for June 14, 2013.
Thanks to Susanna Leonard Hill.


  1. I love historical fiction and legends. I never heard about a female pirate. What a wonderful story for kids. And, the fact it was made into the "Pirate Queen." I enjoyed the additional information you included about Grace O'Malley. Great review!

    1. Thanks. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. I think there are a lot of reluctant readers who would enjoy this book.

  2. What a fascinating story, Joanne. . .I have never heard of Grace O'Malley. I am drawn to books about little known people in history.
    Have a wonderful summer!

    1. I know what you mean. History really comes alive when you learn about the quirky individuals, not just the characters who are larger than life. Thank-you and enjoy the sunshine!

  3. I like this book a lot too - the cover is great!

    1. Thanks, Julie. Matt does a lot of editorial work too. Artists like Matt Faulkner and Peter de Seve have great technique which serves them well in both fields. I love studying their paintings.

  4. This looks excellent. I'm a fan of pirates and historical fiction so I'll definitely have to check this one out!

    1. I didn't realize what a legend has grown around her until I started the research for this review. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I have never heard of this legend and think it is great that the main character is not totally sympathetic.

    1. Good point, Joanna. People in history are as complex as people today. I think we owe it to our kids to write fleshed-out characters. Thanks!


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