Bad Pirate Reviews

Kirkus Reviews **Starred Review**

Bad Pirate by Kari-Lynn Winters and Dean Griffiths“Wicked smart pacing and playful art tell the tale of a pirate too doggone loyal for her own good. Capt. Barnacle Garrick may be the scurviest cur (literally—he’s a springer spaniel) to sail the seven seas, but his blue-eyed daughter Augusta is kind, considerate, and caring. In short, she’s a very bad pirate indeed. Disgusted—she’s more inclined to tuck her bunkmates in than to commit basic forms of piracy—her father admonishes her to “be saucy…bold….But most important, me sea pup, yez gots to be SELFISH!” Augusta tries by purloining a fellow shipmate’s peg leg, but when a squall and a torn mainsail mean almost certain sinking, the feisty sea pup teaches her father and his crew that sometimes it pays to be saucy, bold, and selfless. In a story so packed with piratical jargon and growls that even the most staid and sorry landlubbers will become salty dogs while reading it, it’s Griffiths’ art that takes the wave-swept narrative to another level. Augusta’s charm goes far, and each breed of canine is rendered with a loving hand. Even more delightful are the tiny details. From Augusta’s surreptitious carving of a new peg leg to Garrick’s battles with uniformed mice in an early vignette, young readers will see something new with each turn of the page. Arrrrguably the best piratical dogfight you’ll ever sink your teeth into. (Picture book. 4-6)”

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School Library Journal

“Among the sea dogs (literally dogs in pirate clothing) on her father’s ship, August Garrick is a very bad pirate. Her kind, polite, and helpful actions win her a lecture. “To be a good pirate, yez gots to be saucy,” says captain Garrick. “And yez gots to be bold. But most important, me sea pup, yez gots to be selfish!” Scully, a bull terrier with a wood leg, will see to it, or the captain will feed him to the fish. So Augusta throws Scully’s peg-leg out a porthole while he’s sleeping, hoping this selfish act will make her father proud. That night a terrible storm comes up and rips the sails. The ship lists and takes on water. Just as the crew is ready to abandon ship, Augusta climbs the rigging and takes charge. “Less speed!” she calls. “Lads, help me reef the sails!” They obey her, and the ship is saved. Her proud father hugs her. “Augusta, yez be the best pirate I’z ever known—saucy, bold, and selfless!” This book with its nautical terms and pirate speak is a delight to read aloud. The full color artwork is rich in detail, and the expressive canine faces of captain and crew will bring smiles.

VERDICT This seagoing tale with its endearing heroine will be a sure hit with youngsters.”


“Whether or not a band of pirates is a bunch of salty dogs (and in this case they literally are), one thing is for sure: pirates are selfish! Augusta Garrick is a good-natured, helpful spaniel pup and the daughter of a bad-natured, horrible pirate captain. As he endlessly reminds her (while she does things like rescue small dogs who have walked off the plank), she must be saucy, bold, and selfish if she wants to be a “good” pirate. But when a storm hits and the sails are torn, it may be better if everyone aboard is selfless instead. Winters spreads loads of drama and humor throughout, and Griffith’s expert illustrations are vibrantly colored and posed. Each breed of dog, fairly realistically drawn, is delightfully depicted in pirate garb with expressions that heighten the tension when the seas get rough. Landlubbers will discover fun details upon multiple readings, which will be welcome as this charming moral turnaround tale is accomplished without a sugar coating. These are despicable sea dogs after all!”
— April Mazza

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“Captain Barnacle Garrick displayed all the characteristics of the typical bad pirate; he was saucy, bold and selfish. His daughter, Augusta, however did not follow the pattern. Around the pirate ship she was kind-hearted and helpful, never saucy and bold. She could never be a bad pirate until she did something selfish! Was now the time to make her father proud?

This delightful pirate spoof uses vocabulary in an interesting way to develop the story. Key words such as saucy, bold, and selfish, plus typical pirate expressions such as Aye! Arr! and Land ahoy! are found in bold, large print. The dialogue in bubbles is also colloquial and fun. This text should be a great read-aloud.

Each page is filled with colourful, humourous illustrations depicting the pirate ship and swarthy crew. Emphasizing the common reference to pirates as ‘sea dogs’, each pirate on the ship is cleverly drawn as a different breed of dog, including ‘peg-leg Scully, a white bull terrier. Augusta, in contrast, is a winsome spaniel. This story should amuse and delight young readers as well as prove to be a starting point for interesting discussion regarding personal characteristics. It is highly recommended for both a classroom and school library collection.”

Quill & Quire

“Captain Barnacle is a good pirate: he’s saucy, bold, and selfish. So is his scurvy-ridden crew. His daughter, Augusta, however, is good natured and helpful, and thus a terrible pirate. When she offers to fix a rip in their ship’s sail, she is chastised for being too nice. Her father roars, “If I find a kindhearted matey on board, yez be the one feedin’ the fishes!” In an effort to please her father and show she can be bad, Augusta throws fellow pirate Scully’s peg leg overboard, though she feels sick with guilt afterward.

When a storm threatens the ship, Augusta defies orders and scurries up the rigging to repair the sail, averting disaster and proving she can be saucy and bold without being selfish. Her altruistic actions cause her father to revise his rules and opinion of what makes a good pirate.

This is a delightful book with a take-charge female protagonist who rejects her father’s expectations of stereotypical behavior and remains true to her own values. Kari-Lynn Winters’ text is as spirited as Augusta herself, sprinkled liberally with pirate slang and nautical terms (all helpfully explained on the endpapers). Veteran artist Dean Griffiths’ clever illustrations are filled with movement, drama, and visual jokes, often depicting the action from different perspectives (atop the main mast, water level outside the ship). The characters are dogs of different breeds dressed as pirates—a visual pun on the term “sea dogs”—and have wonderfully expressive, human-like faces. Captain Garrick wears a hook in place of one paw—a sly reference to the infamous Captain Hook…[T]his rollicking story will charm pirate fans young and old.”
—Joanne Findon, a writer in Peterborough, Ontario.

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CM Magazine

“The text begs to read aloud by a parent or teacher with great dramatic flourish and a pirate accent. Words that describe different character traits are highlighted for emphasis. The slang and nautical terms are included on the endpapers….As always, Griffiths’ artwork is outstanding. The lively text is wonderfully complemented with high-spirited and energetic drawings, full of bold colours and great detail. Bad Pirate is artfully designed. Much of the pirate dialogue cleverly appears on floating pieces of sail. The pirates’ being portrayed as very expressive dogs has a dynamic comic effect. Various breeds are cleverly used, and these delightful “sea dogs” should require a second look. Griffiths also makes use of many different perspectives to simulate vibrant sea action.

Both writer and illustrator have many children’s books and awards to their credit. Their depth of experience and creative ability results in a feisty, fun tale. Recommended.”
—Reesa Cohen

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National Reading Campaign

“Kari-Lynn Winters is known for her fun, rhythmic language and Bad Pirate is no exception. Using repetition and boisterous words, Winters makes everyone feel like an old sea dog. (Luckily for non-pirates, the endpapers include a glossary.) And Dean Griffiths’ illustrations add to the merriment, characterizing all the pirates as dogs. From spaniels to pit bulls, even the mermaids are canine, or rather, mer-dogs. Sporting nose rings, beaded dreadlocks and a hilarious range of headgear, these hearties are an enthusiastic bunch, right up until a terrible storm makes the pages sway so realistically readers may have to close their eyes!

Whether ye be saucy, bold, kindhearted – or all three – Bad Pirate is a rollicking read-aloud that will please the pirate in everyone.”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

You know Kari-Lynn Winters will spin a great yarn, which she has, and it’s a rollicking good one of life on the high seas, living with barnacle-hardened sea dogs (literally) and a father-daughter relationship like no other. There’s learning about being oneself and accepting others’ strengths as important, even if different. The text is salted with the voice of pirates–though nicely scrubbed for young ears and eyes–and the fluency of a sea shanty. And Dean Griffiths makes sure that his bold illustrations transport the reader to the swaying decks of that pirate ship, embellished with detailed rigging, portholes, ratlines and masts. And the crew of spaniels, chihuahuas, bulldogs and sheepdogs (this list is limited only by my own limited dog knowledge) is resplendent in their kerchief do-rags, breeches, buckle boots and gold earrings, the captain especially dapper in his frock coat and feathered musketeer hat. And Augusta fits right in, truly looking like a pirate, even if Kari-Lynn Winters has to help her, and everyone else on the ship, see that when she was good, she really was a very Bad Pirate. Lucky for them.”

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Kids’  Book Buzz

“Bad Pirate is about dog pirates that think being a pirate is about being saucy, bold, and selfish. The captain’s daughter, Augusta, is kind, nice, and helpful. Her dad and the other pirates think that is very, very bad. Augusta finally tries to be selfish, and then when there is a storm, her selfish act puts the whole ship in danger. So, she goes to help fix the sail, even though its not her job, and when her dad growls at her, she has to get saucy with him. Will he get mad at her? Will he let her fix the sail or will he let the ship sink? You have to read the book to find out!

Augusta is brave because she stands up to her dad, and is kind even when he tells her she should be selfish. I like this book because it was cool. I love pirates, and I like all the different characters. I really like all the details of the illustrations, they look like real dogs. And I like all the different breeds. I also like the ship. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes pirates, or wants to be nice, even if sometimes their friends aren’t.”
—reviewed by Lily, Age 6

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Pirates and Privateers

Bad Pirate is a wickedly delightful tale that is perfect for reading aloud and for young pirates to participate in the telling. Even the inside covers contain information to enrich the adventure. In the front are pirate words, while in the back can be found nautical words any sailor would use. The artwork is fabulous, and the various expressions on the dogs’ faces perfectly capture the humor, the seriousness, the terror, and much more. The whole crew sports earrings and locating them adds to the fun. Even the rats get a chance to participate. This picture book may be for the youngest of pirates, but old pirates will get a kick out of the tale as well. Don’t be surprised if Bad Pirate becomes a favorite that young pirates want to hear again and again.”

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Children’s Bookwatch

Bad Pirate features lovely color drawings by Dean Griffiths as it tells of Barnacle Garrick, a bold pirate captain who has a shy daughter who likes being helpful. Augusta doesn’t fit in with the crew and her helpful ways are a problem, until the crew gets in trouble. Dog characters who form the crew and the dilemma of one who doesn’t fit in makes for a lively discourse on the possibilities of courage and difference in a pirate’s set ways.”

Youth Services Book Review

What did you like about the book? Written in the jargon and accent of a true pirate, this book is a great read aloud book that will keep young children entertained. The illustrations are large and colorful so children hearing this book at a story hour in a library will be able to see the pictures with no problem.…

To Whom Would You Recommend this book? This is recommended for ages 5-8. Children who love pirates and have read the “Good Pirate” book will love this book.

Who should buy this book? This would be good for elementary school libraries and public libraries that have a children’s section….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes”
Sandra Pacheco, ESL teacher, Washington, D.C.

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Vermont Country Sampler

“At some stage in their lives daughters can become in­dependent, uppity and seemingly too savvy for their own good. But if this willful daughter is an appealing Springer Spaniel named Augusta aboard a pirate ship full of other dogs with her father as captain, things will happen that will ‘shiver your timbers.’…

Meet the foul-mouthed Captain Barnacle Garrick, his irresistible daughter, and a motley crew of sea dogs as they capture loot or survive a storm at sea. Depending on the circumstances Capt. Barnacle demands that the crew, includ­ing his daughter, be Rotten, Sneaky and Brainy in the Good Pirate book and Saucy, Bold and Selfish in The Bad Pirate book. How these commands are obeyed is illustrated in some of the most captivating seafaring dog drawings and captain-fearing adventures. You will be intrigued by the bombastic captain with his menacing hook, his free-spirited daughter who loves vanilla as a perfume, and the life of the pirate dogs….”

Read the full review on page 28 of the March 2017 issue of the Vermont Country Sampler