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Pirate Princess

Author: Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Illustrator: Jill McElmurry


ISBN-10: 0061142425

ISBN-13: 978-0061142420

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Coming May 2012mailto:sudipta@sudipta.comshapeimage_7_link_0


Winner of 2012 Children’s Lit:

The Year in Miscellanea:

Most Disgusting Moment in a Picture Book

Puking off the crows nest in Pirate Princess!


In upbeat, rhyming verse, Bardhan-Quallen presents the rollicking adventures of a princess-turned-pirate.

Princess Bea is not your typical princess. Instead of longing for a happily-ever-after in the arms of Prince Charming, she yearns for a swashbuckling life on the high seas. One day, spying a pirate ship, she seizes the chance to make her dreams come true. To her dismay, Captain Jack assigns her deck-swabbing, cooking and, finally, lookout duties, and she fails spectacularly at all of them (especially the last, in which her failure involves puking and further fouling the deck she never successfully swabbed in the first place). Her fate is sealed. Unless determined Bea can come up with another way to make herself indispensable to the crew, she must walk the plank. The deft, engaging verse interspersed with pirate lingo is complemented neatly by McElmurry’s precise and detailed illustrations. Establishing the feel of an old-fashioned fairy tale with some madcap modern twists, her dramatizations cast the pirates as peculiar and slightly intimidating rather than menacing, and bespectacled Bea as clumsy, quirky and full of pluck. 

A winning combination of smart and silly, this yarn will make a welcome addition to princess and pirate storytimes, as well as a good choice for one-on-one sharing. (Picture book. 4-8)


Princess Bea is not the frilly type. No, she is more of a hang-from-the-chandelier-and-play-swashbuckler gal, with skull-and-crossbone-print pj’s and pirating aspirations. So when the princess spies a docked pirate ship, she climbs aboard—“It’s a pirate’s life for me!” But things immediately don’t go well: there’s deck swabbing; inadvertently tripping Captain Jack; acting as “cooking wench”; and serving as lookout

from up in the crow’s nest. She is no good at any of these tasks, and it appears as if Bea is doomed to walk the plank—until her royal heritage comes in handy in the end. With a spunky, bespectacled, redheaded

heroine; classic pirate stylings (eye patches, ahoys, arrrs); and bouncy rhyming stanzas, this offers a fun take on a familiar theme. Colorful, cartoonish illustrations animatedly depict archetypal characters and scenarios with amusing details, like Bea’s ubiquitous pooch companion and sword-dueling, eye-patched kitties. Overall, this is an entertaining seafaring adventure and a story about bucking conventions and expectations to pursue—here, buccaneer—your dreams.

— Shelle Rosenfeld

Read more about

Jill McElmurry’s illustration process on the the blog Seven Impossible things before breakfast HERE!

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