I went through a period when I was pirate mad. I read dozens of books about pirates and their doings, and would have loved to look through the book reviewed below. Blackbeard is probably the most famous pirate of them all, and in this book poetry and prose is paired with artwork to give readers a wonderful picture of Blackbeard's life.
Blackbeard: The Pirate King
J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Michael Ed. Lewis
For ages 7 to 10
National Geographic, 2006, 978-0792255857
Blackbeard was a man whostruck terror into the hearts of those who encountered him. Though we cannot be sure what his real name was, and though there are few descriptions of him, there can be no doubt that he was one of the most feared pirates of all time, and his adventures have been the subject of tales and stories for hundreds of years.
In this wonderfully written collection of poems, J. Patrick Lewis tells a series of "yarns detailing the legends, myths, and real-life adventures of history's most notorious seaman." Among other things, we hear about why Teach - one of the names that Blackbeard was given - may have become a pirate, and how he captured a French ship and made it his own. Accompanying the poems is collection of illustrations which portray Blackbeard and which were created by such people as N.C. Wyeth and Howard Pyle. In addition to the poems, the author has written notes to annotate the artwork and to provide background information on Blackbeard and piracy in the 1700's. At the back of the book there is an author's note which includes a map showing the areas where Blackbeard sailed his ships. There is also an excellent "Blackbeard's Time Line," which will give the reader a real sense of what the man's life was like.