A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas

A Pirate’s Night before Christmas, written by Philip Yates and illustrated by Sebastia Serra, is definitely a departure from the traditional ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas tale. The rhymes are set up in a similar fashion, but imagine if you will a Christmas Eve aboard a pirate ship. The pirates are not “nestled all snug in their beds,” and they’re not waiting on Santa Claus. No, they are doing pirate things–”snorin’ like pigs,” dreaming of treasure chests, watching for approaching ships–and waiting on Sir Peggedy (the pirate’s Santa) to appear.

And appear he did, but Sir Peggedy is about as different from Santa as it’s possible to get. He does drive a sleigh, but it’s pulled by eight seahorses. (Sir Peg arrives out of the sea, by the way.) Sir Peggedy is fat, dresses in black, is covered in seaweed, has a patch over one eye, scars on his face, a gold tooth, a hook for one hand, a peg for one leg, and a skull earring. But, like the Santa we all know, Sir Peggedy does give presents to pirates on Christmas Eve. Some of those presents we might not want–like hardtack, a plank, or eggs–but others, like a map to buried treasure, would be welcome gifts to pirates and land lubbers alike!

This is a great twist on the traditional tale we all know and love. An extremely helpful–and funny–pirate glossary is included at the back of the book for those who are unfamiliar with pirate slang.

This book might make an excellent starting point for students writing their own versions of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. How cool would it be to imagine how Star Wars characters, superheroes, aliens, animals, or other things view Christmas Eve!

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