Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Pirate Baby by Mary Hoffman & Ros Asquith reviewed by Chitra Soundar

My five-year old nephew is not into pirates. He thinks it’s strange that a grown-up like me likes them. I love pirates and their adventures, although the last time I was on high seas, I spent the whole day in front of a bucket.

Being a big fan of Amazing Grace, I delved into Mary Hoffman’s Pirate Baby (published by Otter Barry Books) with relish. The illustrations by Ros Asquith are full of fun and naughtiness – keep an eye on the cat and the parrot, lest they should run away with a story of their own.

The pirates in this book are faced with an impossible situation – surely they went in search of treasures and finding a screaming baby wasn’t really a sign of good luck? The pirates from the school of hard-knocks try and keep the baby fed and looked after as best as they could.

But then if you have a baby you need milk and where do you get milk on a ship? The pirates are not known for drinking milk. But they come up with a clever plan. The pirates get resourceful – to feed the baby, to make clothes and to protect her from falling overboard. What more could a baby ask for?

Well the baby didn’t ask for a monster to attack them either. But her resourcefulness saves the pirates and earns her a place in the crew. Now she’s not just a baby or bad luck, she’s a pirate baby on a pirate ship.

This book is full of energy and fun and would have children chuckling and giggling for a long time. But it’s also subtly reversing roles among the pirates (check out the fierce lady pirates they meet) and showing there’s a place for a girl anywhere she wants to go and in anything she wants to do.

I’m hoping my nephew who’s not into pirates will love this book when I share it with him because it’s important for young children to understand that there are no set gender rules and anyone can be a pirate if they want to be. Although they do need a strong stomach to withstand the high seas. Not me then, sadly.

If you like pirate stories like me, maybe you can also check out these:
  • Johnny Duddle’s The Pirate Cruncher
  • Pirate Pete and his smelly feet by Lucy Rowland & Mark Chambers
  • Ten Little Pirates by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty 

And on this site, we have all reviewed a number of wonderful pirate books. Click here to see all of our pirate recommendations.

Chitra Soundar is an Indian-born British writer, storyteller and author of children’s books, based in London. Find out more at or follow her on twitter via @csoundar.


1 comment:

otterbarrybooks said...

Hi Chitra, So glad you like our dauntless pirate baby, the caring male pirates and the fierce lady pirates! This story is so much fun and you definitely do not need to be into pirates to enjoy it, as you rightly point out. Thank you. Janetta

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