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The Pirate Captain's Daughter (Eve Bunting's Pirate Series) Hardcover – February 14, 2011

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Read the first two chapters of The Pirate Captain's Daughter. [PDF]

Product Details

  • Series: Eve Bunting's Pirate Series
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press; English Language edition (February 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585365262
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585365265
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,791,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

An Interview with Eve Bunting

Author Eve Bunting

Author Eve Bunting (EB, below) talks with the editors of Sleeping Bear Press (SBP) about her experience writing The Pirate Captain's Daughter.

SBP: What made you decide to write a book about pirates?

EB: I've been interested in pirates ever since I was a little girl in Ireland and my father read Treasure Island to me. Sitting by a turf fire in our kitchen, rain falling outside, it was wonderful to picture the Caribbean, the sunshine, the trade winds... and the pirates.

I have always read books about pirates. I cherish my copy of Treasure Island with wonderful art by N.C. Wyeth. To me it not only evokes the days of the pirates but the days I spent listening to it and to my father's voice.

SBP: What research did you do for the book?

EB: When the thought came to me to write my very own pirate book I didn't have to look far past my imagination for facts. I have a library built up over the years by my family, who know of my fascination with Blackbeard and Captain Kidd and of course Grace O'Malley, the Irish pirate queen.

SBP: What inspired you to write this particular story?

EB: Perhaps it was Grace O'Malley who really inspired my story, since she set sail with her seafaring father when she was just a young girl and her bravery and skill are renowned. She even at one time went to call on Queen Elizabeth I and was well received.

There were other women who became pirates by the same ruse. Anne Bonny and Mary Reade were two of them. They dressed, fought, and swore like men. Once they even served, well disguised, on the same pirate ship. When they were captured they were sentenced together in Port Royal, Jamaica, and were both reprieved.

SBP: How did you create the character of Catherine?

EB: Because I write books for young people, my protagonist came full-blown as a teenager who "had always wanted to be a pirate." Catherine chopped off her hair, wore men's clothing and managed for quite a while to disguise her true sex so she could be part of her father's crew.

I had to do supplementary research of course when I began the book, so I haunted the Pasadena [California] public libraries. They know me well there and if I'm checking out a lot of pirate books they'll politely inquire, "Doing a pirate book next, Mrs. Bunting?" They are my friends and will gather books for me from all the branch libraries in town and beyond. I use the Internet also but I do not entirely trust what I read and I find it helpful only when it puts me on track of some fact I may have already missed.

SBP: Can you tell your readers more about the pirate language?

EB: I had fun with the pirate dialogue which, on close examination, probably has a lot of the Irish in it. Many of the pirates were Irish, or English, so I think it all fit together. When I reread my final manuscript I smiled to recognize that some of the words coming out of the pirates' mouths had come out of my father's, "back in the day." If my father filled a glass of water too full and it sloshed on the tablecloth he'd mutter "It was lippin' laggin'," meaning full to the top. Then he might conclude with a hearty "Dogblast!" He certainly would have been surprised if he'd heard a pirate on the Reprisal speaking the way he did.

SBP: Are there modern-day pirates?

EB: Unfortunately there are still pirates today plying their trade. They troll the sea and plunder ships, usually cargo vessels and tankers carrying oil. Most of the "hot spots" are off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean. Instead of cannons or cutlasses they carry machine guns and automatic rifles. Instead of sails they use motorboats or fishing craft fitted with powerful engines. There is not much gold or many jewels being carried in today's cargo vessels but the pirates will steal whatever they can find--computers, laptops, cell phones, iPods, clothing. In 2005 two heavily armed pirate boats even attacked a cruise ship and tried unsuccessfully to board it. AARG!

"Bad cess to them!" my father would have said.

SBP: Did you enjoy writing The Pirate Captain's Daughter?

EB: I so much enjoyed writing this novel. I loved Catherine and William and did not want to let go of them. But all good things must come to an end.

When I do write another pirate story I will have a new book to aid me in my research.

I will have The Pirate Captain's Daughter.

Download this interview with suggested discussion topics. [PDF]

Download the first two chapters of The Pirate Captain's Daughter. [PDF]

From Booklist

After her mother's death, 15-year-old Catherine declares that she wants to disguise herself as a boy and join her father, the captain of a pirate ship, on his next voyage. He agrees reluctantly, warning that "a female on a ship can only be disaster." Though there are villains aboard, Catherine (now called Charlie) finds friends as well, and she falls into the rhythm of shipboard life. When her secret is discovered, though, disaster strikes again and again. The first-person narrative reads smoothly. A subplot of hidden treasure runs through the story, motivating the best and worst in the men aboard the ship. Readers looking for rollicking pirate adventures may want to look elsewhere, for though Catherine finds adventure and romance aboard the ship, the story's frequently dark tone is more in keeping with realistic piracy than the cheerful, choreographed swashbuckling familiar to moviegoers. Still, this historical novel delivers action, intrigue, and mild romance while hinting that a sequel may follow. Grades 6-9. --Carolyn Phelan

More About the Author

Eve Bunting has written more than 200 books for children, many of which can be found in libraries around the world. Her other Clarion titles for very young readers include My Big Boy Bed, which was also illustrated by Maggie Smith, and Little Bear's Little Boat, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. She lives in Pasadena, California.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Pirate Captain's Daughter is a great choice for reluctant readers-girls- boys would probably make fun of the romance. It is a short action filled adventure. I appreciated that it did not glamorize life on a pirate ship. The food was rotten and insect infested, the crew filthy and smelly, and the work tedious and painful. I liked the protagonist, Catherine. She is a brave, foolish tween who thinks traveling on a pirate ship will be exciting. I did not understand her father. Supposedly, he is one of the best captains sailing out of New England, and a devoted father. So, why does he do something so monumentally stupid as bring a young girl aboard a ship with a bunch of anti-social drunken misfits? I guess over-indulgent spineless parents existed even in colonial America. Catherine learns quickly "be careful what you beg for - you may get it and regret it."
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Format: Kindle Edition
(Review originally posted at

Medium Read In: Hardback
Pages: 201

Rating (Scaled 1-5): 3

I've spent forever looking for good books about pirates. Every time I see one, it's very likely to be a bodice ripper, when I'm more interested in finding fun, light reads along the lines of Treasure Island, or whatnot. I was ecstatic when I found The Pirate Captain's Daughter. I liked the blurb for the book, and promptly brought it home with me for a read.

This book had a lot of potential. I was super excited to read it, and despite the simplicity and slowness of the beginning, I continued to hope in vain for the book to gain more momentum. I liked William, the cabin boy, and I found the pirates we were introduced to to be fairly interesting. Ms. Bunting's writing was crisp and filled in just enough detail to not leave the reader wanting. She kept me engaged in the story, especially with her portrayal of Catherine's emotions.

The emotional aspect was probably the best part of the novel. Catherine's sorrow at her mother's death, her relationship with her father, her original eagerness for sea, and then her disgust for the situation were all covered with fantastic language and accuracy. However, the relationship with William was under developed, in my opinion. The book was obviously geared toward the younger set of the YA readership, but that doesn't mean that the author needs to make it a magical-love-at-nearly-first-sight kind of romance.

There came a point about halfway through my read where I was about ready to put the novel down. Catherine makes quick enemies with two of the pirates, brothers Herc and Hopper. However, they sort of seem to ignore her.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on June 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
When Catherine's mother died and her father made plans to send her away to live with relatives, she came up with a plan of her own. After years of listening in on her father's conversations, she learned that instead of operating a legitimate shipping business, he is really a pirate. Fascinated by her images of life on a pirate ship, Catherine begs her father to let her join him.

Despite his reservations, he agrees to allow Catherine to become a member of his crew. There is one requirement. It is well known among pirates that the presence of a woman on the ship will bring bad luck to everyone on board. Therefore, Catherine must dress and act like a boy and use the name Charlie. The captain introduces her as his son, and the voyage begins.

Life aboard the ship is not the glamorous existence Catherine imagined. Conditions are deplorable. Washing clothes means simply laying the garments on the deck and hoping for rain. The food is bug-infested and toilet conditions are extremely primitive. Although she shares her father's cabin, he quickly makes it clear that a captain's door is always open, giving her absolutely no privacy.

Complicating matters is the fact that one crew member believes the captain is hiding a valuable gem from the rest of his crew. This crew member is a constant threat to the captain's safety, and should he discover the captain is hiding his daughter on board, both their lives would be in danger.

Author Eve Bunting takes readers into the world of sailing ships and pirates with THE PIRATE CAPTAIN'S DAUGHTER. There is constant suspense, as Catherine worries about being discovered and at the same time attempts to find out the truth about the hidden gem. Although the idea of a woman on a pirate ship is not unheard of, it is unusual and makes for an exciting read.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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