girls education in africaJust Be-aWhat If I'm Not a Cat?booksmagazinesabout Kari-Lynn Mooreauthor visits to your schoolteachers' guidescontact Kari WintersEsper Getz at the OlympicsKari Winters
Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes.
- Neil Gaiman

Best Pirate

Best Pirate
see larger cover

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 “Coastal Kids’ Books to Cozy Up with This Season” by Raina Delisle (December 7, 2017), online at

    Cat person or dog person? Choose your side and hang on for the ride as the Tuna Lubbers and the Frilly Dogs race to find the booty in Best Pirate. No need to put on a pirate voice to recount this tale; the author takes care of that by writing the dialogue in polished pirate speak. It’s easy to flub like a landlubber the first time around, but, “We’z all be learnin’ from the best.” In this tale, sea pup Augusta sets out solo to Crossbones Island to dig up the doubloons after accidentally destroying her father’s map. When she comes face to face with a pirate kitty, she learns that working together—even if it involves an arch-enemy—is the best way out of a jam and sharing makes us all richer. The richly colored illustrations, dramatic expressions of the characters, and dialogue written on scrolls pull readers into the pirate drama.

    internal artReview by Reesa Cohen in CM Magazine 24:7 (October 20, 2017), online at

    ***½/4: Augusta, the adorable spaniel and plucky heroine of Bad Pirate and Good Pirate is back, still trying to prove her mettle and worth to a demanding father. But her awkwardness poses a problem, and in her efforts to be “nimble and fearless”, she not only sets the map on fire, but she also injures the first mate, Scully, a fierce looking bull terrier.

    Hoping to impress her father, Augusta decides to set out on her own to find the booty on Crossbones Island. It is on this scary island that she meets up with Scuppers, a member from the rival crew, Tuna Lubbers. These two discover the treasure, but they get themselves in a bad situation. Augusta devises a crafty plan to free them from their predicament, one that requires cooperation from the two enemies.

    Kari-Lynn Winters follows the format of the first two pirate books, with playful, pirate language scattered throughout the story and with much of the dynamic text appearing on floating pieces of sail. The battle between the “Frilly Dogs” and the “Tuna Lubbers” is forecast even on the title and dedication pages. And the end pages once again feature a glossary of pirate lingo and nautical talk. The design of this book is cleverly conceived. The buoyant text is mirrored in the dazzling artwork by Dean Griffiths. The wildly colourful and detailed drawings are expressive, action-packed and filled with humour. Griffiths’ charming illustrations have depth and pull the reader right into the story.

    internal artUsing these three imaginative titles produced by this talented duo, an enterprising teacher could treat her students to a fun, pirate-themed unit. The fact that each title features an important lesson or moral, with a refreshing heroine, should make this idea even more motivating.

    Highly Recommended.

      Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

    Review in Resource Links (October 2017), excerpted at

    Best Pirate is full of pirate language that begs to be read aloud in your best pirate voice. In his illustrations, Griffiths has managed to create a whole collection of funny, diverse, detailed, and expressive dog and cat characters. Amid the lush setting, detailed characters, and funny language lies an adventure story with a heartwarming message. Even though Augusta is a dog and a pirate, her bravery, kindness, and desire to please her family is something that every kid can relate to and aspire to. …

    “Books for Young Pirates” by Cindy Vallar, online at

    The Tuna Lubbers want the treasure hidden on Crossbones Island; so do Barnacle Garrick, who has the map, and his pirates. As his daughter moves the candle closer to examine the map better, she knocks it over. The flame burns through the map precisely where X marks the spot, which angers her father. He warns Augusta that she must “be nimble and fearless – not clumsy and afeard!”

    Her teacher is the nimble, sneaky, and fearless Scully – the dog who will sneak onto the island and steal the treasure right from under the tuna-loving cats. Augusta practices everything that she learns and is well on her way to being the pirate her father wishes. Until she drops a cannonball on Scully’s good paw.

    With only a peg leg left to stand on there’s no way he can retrieve the treasure as planned. No, that task falls to Augusta. It’s the only way to make amends. She takes the jolly boat ashore to find the treasure. Instead, she comes face-to-face with Scuppers, the son of the captain of the Tuna Lubbers.

    Scuppers is terrified to confront a Frilly Dog, but he can’t go back without the treasure. Before the showdown between the two begins, the ground gives way beneath their paws and they fall into a deep hole. Finding the treasure proves simpler than either expects. Escaping from the hole, deciding who gets the treasure, and getting it back to the ship before anyone discovers them gone prove s to be a bigger problem to solve.

    Best Pirate is a wonderful, amusing tale that shows sometimes it takes smarts, rather than fighting, to get out of a sticky situation. And sometimes an enemy may really be a friend . . . if you’re willing to work together. The story is beautifully illustrated with expressive characters that capture the imagination of those reading or listening to this pirate tale. To get readers and listeners into a proper frame of mind for the story, the inside front cover features examples of Pirate Talk and the inside back cover has Nautical Talk, as well as a diagram showing the parts of a ship. This is the third tale featuring Augusta Barnacle and it’s the best one yet!

    Review by Helen K. in CanLit for LittleCanadians (August 21, 2017), online at

    First she was a Bad Pirate (2015) and then she was a Good Pirate (2016) but now Augusta, daughter of Captain Barnacle Garrick, is on her way to becoming an even better pirate. That is, until she burns a hole in her father’s treasure map, the one that would lead them to the same treasure the Tuna Lubbers (i.e., cats) were on their way to grab on Crossbones Island.

    Scully who is supposed to retrieve the treasure is sure he can help her become that better pirate. So he works her at being crafty and nimble and fearless. But when she drops a cannonball on his one good foot, his treasure-seeking mission is thwarted. Augusta is determined to make things right and heads off to the island herself.

    On the island, she encounters a cat pirate just as they both fall into the pit harbouring the treasure. As they argue over whose booty it is, they realize they have to get out first. Scuppers is afraid–he truly is a scaredy cat–but Augusta turns on her craftiness and gets Scuppers to help her jam swords and daggers into the pit’s walls. Turning on her nimbleness, she scampers up the walls using the swords as footholds. And when a dagger comes away and Scuppers is in danger, she sets aside her fear and reaches out a paw and saves him.

    Though Scuppers recognizes Augusta as the best pirate, deserving of the treasure, she acknowledges their teamwork as leading to their success and insists they split the booty.

    Too bad that Augusta doesn’t get the credit from her father for finding the treasure–he believes Scully actually retrieved it–and lauded as a hero as Scuppers is by his father and the crew of the Tuna Lubbers. Captain Barnacle still doesn’t get how accomplished his daughter is at being a pirate, though Scully, Squid and Bones and Scuppers acknowledge this readily. Readers will certainly learn a lesson from Augusta and Kari-Lynn Winters about determination and fulfilment that comes from success without the need for accolades. She may be a dog but she’s a gutsy lassy.

    Dean Griffiths, who illustrated Kari-Lynn Winters’ earlier Pirate books, continues to endow the story with colour richness and opulent textures from another time, just like the recurring yellow parchment backgrounds and scroll banners. And you can almost feel the movement of the sea and smell the saltiness of the air. Even the lushness of the island’s vegetation is palpable. Of course, young readers will love the dogs and cats of all species with their distinguishing features of fur and shape as well as the wide array of their expressions: friendliness, fear, surprise, dismay, anger.

    Aye, blow me down but Best Pirate is a treasure of a fine tale for pirate lovers on both sea and land.

    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.


    “Brock prof brings pirate book to life” by Maryanne Firth, in Brock News (September 19, 2017), online at

    Kari-Lynn Winters
    Kari-Lynn Winters, an associate professor in Brock’s Department of Teacher Education, shows her new book, Best Pirate, to Nathan and Danielle from the University’s Rosalind Blauer Centre for Child Care. Winters shared the story with a group of children from the centre during her book launch on Tuesday, Sept. 19 in Brock’s Instructional Resource Centre.

    Screams of ‘arrr matey’ and ‘shiver me timbers’ filled the air in Brock’s Instructional Resource Centre Tuesday, as a group of children seated in a pretend ocean roared with laughter.

    Wearing a captain’s hat, Kari-Lynn Winters, an associate professor in Brock’s Department of Teacher Education, passionately shared her new book, Best Pirate, with the youngsters from the Rosalind Blauer Centre for Child Care, bringing the characters to life as she moved throughout the room.

    Winters, who teaches drama in education, felt it only fitting to introduce the children’s book on Sept. 19 — also known as International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

    Kari-Lynn Winters, an associate professor in Brock’s Department of Teacher Education, reads her new book, Best Pirate, to a group of children from the University’s Rosalind Blauer Centre for Child Care. Winters shared the story during her book launch on Tuesday, Sept. 19 in Brock’s Instructional Resource Centre.

    Best Pirate is the third in a series published by Pajama Press, preceded by Winters’ Bad Pirate and Good Pirate.

    “Who doesn’t love pirates?” Winters said when asked about the inspiration behind the books. “They talk funny and they’re adventurous — all kids love adventure.”

    Many children have responded positively to the series’ main character, a female buccaneer — and dog — named Augusta Garrick.

    “A lot of kids will say, ‘I’m glad you made her a girl.’ There should be more stories about adventurous girls,” Winters said.

    The latest edition, illustrated by Dean Griffiths and edited by Ann Featherstone, offers life lessons about sharing and compromise.

    “We really want to get kids imagining, feeling like they’re engaged in the story, feeling like they can visualize it, make predictions and connections,” Winters said. “I hope they understand the story — the idea that you don’t have to be the same as everyone else, that different friends can work together towards an outcome that’s positive for everyone.”

    Winters, who has published 25 picture and poetry books, hoped the teacher candidates in attendance at Tuesday’s launch found inspiration to bring stories to life when sharing them with children.

    “It doesn’t have to be a dull moment — sitting in a chair, just opening a book and reading it,” she said. “You can really engage children with questions. You can use drama to bring books to life and to liven children’s imaginations.”

    Best Pirate is now available in The Campus Store.

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.

Copyright © 2003-2023 Kari Winters   —   Design and artwork by Ben Hodson and Winters Web Works