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Best Pirate

Best Pirate
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Winters, Kari-Lynn. (2017). Illustrated by Dean Griffiths. Good Pirate. Toronto, ON: Pajama Press. 32 pages. ISBN: 978-1-77278-019-2. Sequel to Bad Pirate and Good Pirate.



In Bad Pirate, unlikely buccaneer Augusta Garrick that integrity pays off, even when it means running against the pack. In Good Pirate, the sea pup was still under pressure to fit in, this time by abandoning her love for fancy things. By now, Augusta Garrick has proven that her helpful and gentle-hearted ways don’t make her a bad pirate. In fact, she is even a good pirate. But when her clumsiness destroys a treasure map and injures First Mate Scully, she knows she must learn to be even better.

Eager to make things right, Augusta sets out alone for Crossbones Island. She may not have a map, but she is nimble and fearless! At least, she is trying to be fearless. But there are strange shadows on Crossbones Island, and the Tuna Lubbers’ crew of fierce pirate cats is after the treasure, too. When she finds herself in a dangerous situation with one of the Tuna Lubbers, will Augusta manage to be the better pirate?…

Author and Illustrator:

Kari-Lynn Winters is an author, poet, and performer. With over sixteen picture and poetry books published, she has won the British Columbia Book Prize silver medal twice, for Jeffrey and Sloth and On My Walk, and been nominated numerous times for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize and the Chocolate Lily Awards. She loves being in the classroom and now teaches drama in education at Brock University. Kari-Lynn lives in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Dean Griffiths is a popular picture book artist with more than 25 titles to his name. His many awards include the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Book Prize for Maggie Can’t Wait and the Chocolate Lily Award for Ballerinas Don’t Wear Glasses. Dean’s 2012 title Lumpito and the Painter from Spain has been nominated for the SYRCA Shining Willow Award and was a Bank Street Best Book. His most previous book is Bad Pirate. Dean lives in Duncan, British Columbia, with his daughter.



    Review in Kirkus (July 3 2017), online at

    A pirate lassie decides merely going from a Bad Pirate (2015) to a Good Pirate (2016) isn’t enough.

    Augusta the spaniel may be the apple of her father Capt. Barnacle Garrick’s eye, but when she sets his treasure map afire, his temper runs short. It’s up to Scully, the captain’s best pirate (a bull terrier), to make Augusta a better buccaneer—but if he doesn’t, he’ll be “marooned on Crossbones Island.” When the clumsy pup manages to injure Scully she sets off to find the treasure they were to seek alone, accidentally trapping herself with a rival pirate, a cat named Scuppers. Treasure they find, but it’ll take Augusta’s insight and skills to get them out of their predicament—together. Following the format she set forth in the book’s two predecessors, Winters once again fills her text with piratical lingo while highlighting three adjectives (in this case, “crafty,” “nimble,” and “fearless”), allowing her heroine to embody them in her own way. Augusta is proactive, takes charge, and even has a thing or two to say about generosity when the moment is right. Griffiths’ illustrations are in fine form here, by turns beautiful in their evocative backgrounds while also displaying an array of impressively expressive kits and pups.

    Best be filling yer ditty bag with more of this sort—Tuna Lubbers and Frilly Dogs ahoy!

    Review by Katrina Yurenka in Youth Services Book Review (17 June 2017), online at

    Rating: ****/5

    What did you like about the book? The pirate dogs and the pirate cats are each determined to be the first to find the treasure. Little Augusta the dog is determined to impress her pirate captain father by finding the booty first so off she goes alone to the island. Unfortunately one of the Tuna Lubbers (cat pirates), Scuppers, arrives at the same time. When the two fall into a pit, they discover the treasure, but the pit is very deep and there is no way out! The illustrations are fabulous, full of color, realistic, expressive – and cute.

    Anything you did not like about this book? Not a thing.

    To whom would you recommend this book? This would be a fun addition to a pirate-themed storytime.

    Who should buy this book? Public and lower elementary school libraries and day-care centers

    Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Near.

    Reviewer’s Name: Katrina Yurenka, Moderator, Youth Services Book Review

    Review by Shonna Froebel in Canadian Bookworm (6 June 2017), online at

    This picture book, to be released at the end of the summer, continues with the characters introduced by Winters and Griffiths in the earlier Bad Pirate and Good Pirate books.

    In this story, there are two pirate ships converging on Crossbones Island, both after treasure supposed hidden there. We first see the dog pirates, led by Barnacle Garrick. Augusta is Barnacle’s daughter, and he aims to see her learn from one of his best crew members, Scully. Augusta tries very hard, but when an accident incapacitates Scully, she is determined to mend matters by going alone to the island to find the treasure.

    In her search for the treasure, she finds that she isn’t alone in her search. Scuppers, the son of the cat pirate ship’s Captain Fishmonger, is also on the hunt for doubloons. When they end up in a fix together, Augusta tries to put the skills she learned to work, and find an innovative way out. With teamwork, they both make it to safety, and with treasure in hand return to their ships.

    There is lots of lovely pirate language, and the end papers help define a lot of these for enchanted readers. The illustrations are wonderful, showing emotions and lovely details. The dogs are a variety of breeds, easily identifiable, and the cats range in type while still being entirely cats. And I love that the story shows how working together pays off.

    Both author and illustrator are Canadian and known internationally for their great work. I’d already read and loved Kari-Lynn’s Hungry for Math poetry book, and loved Dean’s illustrations in the children’s novel The Stowaways. It’s great to see them come together in this series.

    Thanks to Pajama Press for providing me with a pre-publication copy.

For Kids (see other kids activities)

    Three drawing, brainstorming, and educational activities for ages 5-8, prepared by Jessica Young, are online at

    As well, these colouring pages and word searches can be printed:

bad pirate coloring page
Bad Pirate colouring page
bad pirate coloring page
Augusta Garrick colouring page
bad pirate word search
Bad Pirate word search

Author visits

Kari is available to visit schools, libraries, birthday parties, workshops … Please see more about author visits.

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