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“Strictly No Elephants” Baby Halloween Costume

“Strictly No Elephants” Baby Halloween Costume

As I previously wrote about, we LOVE Lisa Mantchev’s book, “Strictly No Elephants.” Since we’ll have a 3-month old in tow this Halloween, I wanted to put together a super comfortable, cute, and easy to assemble (e.g. available thru Amazon Prime so I don’t even […]

Halloween Spellbook Craft

Halloween Spellbook Craft

I’m just having the best week because our new Yellow Page book FINALLY arrived a few days ago! What a relief, because I’ve had so many people to call, and just didn’t even know where to start until we got home and found that little treasure […]

A Treasure Chest of Pirate Books

A Treasure Chest of Pirate Books

There’s a dang national day for everything now; it’s ridiculous (and a little bit amazing too, especially if you celebrate important dates with cake like I do.) But the story behind the establishment of National Talk Like a Pirate Day is one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard, probably because it’s explained by Dave Barry, king of everything that’s good and funny in the world. Below I’ve included two links for you. I urge you to use these links and read the stories behind National Talk Like a Pirate Day. To quote Stephen Colbert, “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll lose ten pounds.”

The story of how it all happened (or, as I like to call it: The Preamble to Dave Barry): How It All Started

How it all happened, according to Dave Barry: Arrrrr! Talk like a pirate — or prepare to be boarded

Note that that first link ( includes a special “How To” guide to set you up for the big day. Or, feel free to peruse our list of kid-friendly pirate books below, many of which will familiarize your whole family with the very best in pirate lingo.


P is for Pirate: A Pirate Alphabet written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by John Manders
This is the pirate book find I’m most excited about! I was worried this book might be a little too advanced for my 3.5 year old, but I was pleased to discover that this book easily grows with the reader. The book works through pirate vocabulary in alphabetical order, with short 4-6 line poems serving as the anchor piece of each letter’s page. For example: “R is for Revenge (Queen Anne’s Revenge) / It was Blackbeard’s flagship but it went aground. / After all these many years its wreck has now been found.” These poems are perfect for younger readers, especially when accompanied by the whimsical illustrations (I don’t know how Manders managed to create illustrations that are simultaneously comic and realistic, but he did it, and they are a blast.) But as an added bonus, you’ll also find much more in depth, non-fiction text about the topic at hand and adventure-loving kids will love to learn about all things pirate as they get older and move past the more simplistic rhymes. For example, on “R,” I learned that “It was said that Blackbeard, a skillful sailor, gave orders to the helmsman to take a course that steered the ship into the shoals. It is unclear why, though many think he wanted to get rid of his crew.”

I judge alphabet books like this by the quality of their Q, X and Z choices, and all three of these were superb. In fact, “Q” was my favorite page as it detailed the “Queen of the Pirates, Grace O’Malley” and other women pirates. “X” told of the misconceptions of “X marks the spot,” and Z is the page to read for #nationaltalklikeapirateday, starting with “Zounds!” Highly, highly recommend this one!


The Old Pirate of Central Park by Robert Priest
Candid, #honestopinion moment: not my very favorite. The description inside the dust jacket sounded perfectly charming. “Inspired by memories of his past, the old pirate has built a marvelous replica of his sailing ship […] But when he takes it to the park to launch it in the pond, he finds the seas are not so friendly.” A tiny replica of his old ship? I’m with you. A battle in Central Park between a retired pirate and an old queen? Yes. But there are some strange misdirections here that didn’t really contribute to the plot, character development, or tone, and it ended up just being more weird than charming.

I’ll tell you what I loved though. Ask me the name of the old queen’s ship. Go ahead, ask me. It’s the S.S. Uppity Duchess. Now if that doesn’t sound like the name of one of the drag queens at the bachelorette party I threw in San Francisco, then I don’t know what does.




The Pirate Cruncher by Jonny Duddle
Part rhyming tale, part pirate comic (humorous speech-bubbles and all). This is another pirate book in which the end papers really shine, but then, who doesn’t love a good map, especially when it contains octopus tentacles, pirate ships, and a treasure chest! (I’m thinking of starting a petition for all books to include a map, Game of Thrones style. If you’re not with me, you’re against me.)

This book has a lot going on; it’s sometimes a little overwhelming to read aloud, especially if you’re trying to settle down before bedtime. It’s a superb choice for an afternoon story time though (or perhaps a school read) because it’s impossible to read without being loud, fun, and animated. To directly quote from page 8: “HOORAH!”



A Pirate’s Guide to First Grade written by Jame Preller and illustrated by Greg Ruth
 I’m typically a fan of very timeless, classic style picture books, so I wasn’t convinced I would like a book about pirates with a big yellow school bus on the front. But I did; I loved it. And more importantly, my 3.5 year old did too.

The entire book is written in pirate-ese, so it’s a perfect fit for #nationaltalklikeapirateday. And even if you are terrible at accents, you will absolutely nail pirate talk while reading this one aloud, I promise you. Somehow, Preller’s text manages to read itself in a pirate accent–you’ll barely have to try! Fun fact: my pirate accent is reminiscent of an angry Irish woman, but it convinced my daughter during this fun read aloud, and we both had a great time.

The end papers even include a handy “Pirate’s Vocabulary” glossary, including words used in the book from “Addled” and “Aft” to “Walk the Plank” and “Winks.”




Pirate Princess written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and illustrated by Jill McElmurry
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’m not a big fan of rhyming stories (I hated poetry while earning my English degree, too; so sue me.) But this one is a serious winner. The rhymes felt natural to read aloud (nothing forced), the story was engaging (a princess wants nothing more than to be a pirate, but finds that she’s lacking some necessary skills), and the art was rich and wonderful. I found myself continually impressed by McElmurry’s clever use of space, from pirates gathered around a table, to pirates peering down into a hole, to a vertical two-page spread showing Ms. Princess tossing her cookies from the crow’s nest (it’s not as gross as it sounds.)






Little Badger, Terror of the Seven Seas (Badger Books) written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by LeUyen Pham
A cute little book for the younger crowd. If you liked the original “Can You Do This, Old Badger,” you’ll likely enjoy this simple story of a young badger who imagines he’s a pirate, despite the doubts of the other forest animals.

Could be useful for teaching the physical qualities that make a pirate a pirate (eyepatch, parrot on the shoulder, pirate ship, and so on.)








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Mini Masters Artist Self Portrait Matching Game

Mini Masters Artist Self Portrait Matching Game

Click here to download: Artist Self Portrait Memory Isla’s been obsessed with the game Memory for awhile, and it’s one kids’ game that doesn’t feel mind-numbing for us adults to play along with too! So, we made our own Artist Self Portrait Memory game, starting […]

“Pool” by Jihyean Lee: Favorite Toddler Swimsuits

“Pool” by Jihyean Lee: Favorite Toddler Swimsuits

So much of my life revolves around words: I was an English major, I’m finishing up my M.A. in composition, I work in communication/marketing. So, I was SHOCKED by how much I enjoyed Jihyeon Lee’s wordless picture book, Pool.  It’s the story of two children who […]

“Click, Clack, Moo” by Doreen Cronin: Straw Hat Roundup

“Click, Clack, Moo” by Doreen Cronin: Straw Hat Roundup

I’m going to make a bold statement here: this is my favorite board book.

I could be wrong. I might see another on our bookshelf later today and realize I forgot someone important. But for now, this is the one I’m always recommending to people, and the one I can easily bare to read again and again.

The art in Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type is such a delight–artistic, but still childish, so it appeals to all ages. And this is a little ridiculous, but I think the courier-new type font used for the typewriter is also super appealing to me…yeah, I may have a problem.

Another self-admitted fixation for me (especially as the weather keeps getting warmer) is straw hats–and there are so many styles to choose from! I tend to steer (pun intended) towards some of the more classic styles, like bucket and boat hats, but I’m totally digging some of these trendier ones lately.

Hats are the key to so many of the kid and toddler outfits we put together–seems like every time we’ve got an attention-getting ensemble, there’s a hat capping it off (killing it with the puns today, no?) And kids hats are ridiculously affordable! I’m always shocked how reasonable they are for the impact they make. I need to start taking my own advice and amping up the quality of my own outfits…but I feel like hat-wearing is such a bold commitment for me! 🙂

Below I’ve included a few of my current favorite straw hats, loosely inspired by Click, Clack, Moo’s hat-and-overall-wearing farmer. Take a look, and let me know if any of them work out for you! (Please note that this post may include some affiliate links, at absolutely no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting our blog!)

Summer straw hats for fashionable toddlers and girls, inspired by Doreen Cronin's farmer in "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type"

Top Left: Classic Gardener-Style Hat

Top Middle: Classic Boat Hat with Bow

Top Right: Brown Tassel Tie Hat

Second Row Left: Pink Trim + Stripe Print Hat

Second Row Middle: Straw Fedora

Second Row Right: Two-Tone Floppy Sun Hat

Third Row Left: Scalloped Detail Hat

Third Row Middle: Summer Straw Hat with Brown Polka Dot Bow

Third Row Right: Straw Fedora with Pink Tassel Tie

Bottom Left: Trendy Hat with Faux Suede Band

Bottom Middle: Tasseled Open Weave Cowgirl Hat

Bottom Right: White Bow Bucket Hat

“Olivia” by Ian Falconer: Summer Capsule Wardrobe

“Olivia” by Ian Falconer: Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Have you heard of capsule wardrobes? They are my new obsession! Unfortunately, while I’m stuck in pregnancy purgatory and waiting to see what my new body is going to look like (32 days to go, but who’s counting?), I’m not letting any clothes in or […]

“Strictly No Elephants” by Lisa Mantchev & Taeeun Yoo

“Strictly No Elephants” by Lisa Mantchev & Taeeun Yoo

We’re back from our trip to Washington! Sadly, we didn’t manage to make any whale-watching trips happen–too expensive, and too time consuming. So I guess for us, if you want to see a whale, you’ve got to have about $400 and 12+ hours to spare. Ah […]

“The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend” by Dan Santat

“The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend” by Dan Santat

Today we’re inspired by Dan Santat’s charming picture book, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. It’s the tale of an imaginary friend who’s just waiting and hoping to finally be imagined by a real child. When he grows impatient of waiting, he takes it upon himself to venture out into the real world and find his own child himself.

The colors in this book were captivating to us. We especially loved how they transition from the vivid, colorful images on the island where imaginary friends are created, to the grey, sophisticated color scheme of the real world, where adults can’t help but nap on the subway on the commute home from work.

Beekle himself was our guide for these outfits–his simple all-white body accentuated with just a pop of gold is the perfect blank slate to invite imagination and creation. Our girl’s outfit uses a classic lace shift dress from Target (perfect if you need a quick dressed-up outfit). We went a little more modern for our boy’s outfit, bringing out the gold in a pair of too-cool aviators which pop just right against a casual yellow shirt, white skinny jeans, and sneakers.

Sources for Beekle-inspired girl’s outfit: Adorable little girl's outfit inspired by Dan Santat's gorgeous illustrations in "Beekle"

Lace Shift Dress

Gold Crown Headband

Gold Sequin Ballet Flats





Classic but trendy little boy's outfit inspired by Dan Santat's gorgeous illustrations in "Beekle"Sources for Beekle-inspired boy’s outfit: 

Ochre Faded T-Shirt

Aviator Sunglasses

Low Top Canvas Sneakers

White Skinny Jeans

“If You Want to See a Whale” by Julie Fogliano & Erin E. Stead

“If You Want to See a Whale” by Julie Fogliano & Erin E. Stead

We’ve got an upcoming long weekend in Seattle/Victoria planned, so it seemed an appropriate time to break out Julie Fogliano and Erin E. Stead’s If You Want to See a Whale. With this semester of grad school wrapping up and a new business to run, […]