Hallowe'en is quickly approaching and, trust me on this, not every girl wants to be a princess. Some would much rather be a pirate for a day. And if you plan to be a female pirate, you should be a Pirate Queen, like Anne Bonney or Mary Reade. I wish I knew about them when I was younger.
The Ballad of the Pirate Queens is a book that I picked up long before I ever planned to have a child or work as a children's librarian. It was just one of the books that are so stunning and so intriguing that I felt I had to have it for my own library. It was also my first encounter with Jane Yolen's writing. I have since become a huge fan of this amazingly prolific writer. Every book she writes, and she writes a staggering array, is pitch-perfect. The Ballad of the Pirate Queens with its mix of poetry and history reads like a troubadour's song. I dare you to not lilt as you read it out loud. What I love best about this book, however, is the spotlight on the female pirates.
This book also introduced me to David Shannon's work. Powerful and beautiful only just begin to describe the illustrations in this book. Some of the pieces of artwork in this book are so stand-alone-gorgeous that I would frame them and hang them on my wall if they were available as prints.