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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Get Ye a Parenting Guide, Me Hearties

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

The best thing about Cap'n Billy "The Butcher" McDougall's Guide to Pirate Parenting by Tim Bete is that it offers no practical advice whatsoever. I thought the whole pirate thing might by a clever attention-grabber to lure unsuspecting landlubbers into reading yet another book of stale parenting tips, but I was wrong. Bete leaves the psychology to Dr. Spock, and focuses on what's really important - the proper training of the next generation of Jack (or Jill) Sparrows.

Bete's pirating - um, parenting - expert is the infamous Cap'n Billy, "a rum-swilling, ship-sailing, treasure-plundering, skull-and-crossbones-wearing, self-professed parenting guru" (11). He offers numerous tips on the hows and whys of raising pirates. In case you are curious, here's his Top 10 Reasons to Raise Your Kids As Pirates:

10. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to be a pirate, and he'll steal other people's fish for a lifetime.

9. Divvying up booty is good quality time with the kids.

8. When other parents hear you're raising your children as pirates, they'll stop asking you to volunteer at school.

7. It's fun to watch the emergency room doctor's reaction when you say your son was injured during "a little mishap boarding a merchant vessel that refused to surrender."

6. You've always preferred the title "Captain" to "Mommy" or "Daddy."

5. You can spend your kids' college savings on more important things, like a trip to Las Vegas.

4. Your children already smell like pirates, so the transition will be easy.

3. The family that plunders together, stays together!

2. Replacing "family movie night" with "family terrorizing the neighbors with cannons night" is a wonderful change of pace.

1. Cap'n Billy wants you to do it - and the last person who didn't do what Cap'n Billy asked was set adrift in a rowboat with only a day's supply of water.

If you're convinced, you can read on for helpful tips on important subjects like "Quelling Mutinies," treating "Scurvy and Hook Injuries," and "Convert[ing] Your Minivan Into a Pirate Schooner." Cap'n Billy's guide also features handy checklists to track your little powder monkey's progress. As your child grows into young adulthood, you'll find the section "As Your Pirate Gets Older" especially helpful. I laughed out loud at his tips on creating an online dating profile. He encourages teens to "control the first impression others have of [you]" (107) by being creative, like so:


The truth: Pirate captain

Online dating profile: Freelance naval consultant and philanthropist

If you're looking for serious parenting help, you'd best look elsewhere, scurvy dog. If you're after a quick, funny read, look no farther, matey. Fans of Dave Barry and Melinda Long will appreciate Bete's quirky humor and passion for pirating. Everyone else will just have to walk the plank. Arrrrhhhh.

You can catch more laughs with Cap'n Billy on his website.

Grade: B

1 comment:

  1. I think my brother and I are too old for me to give this to my parents, but I'm absolutely going to see if I can find a copy of this to sneak in with the baby blanket for a friend that's due in September.


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