Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Old Pirate of Central Park

We had a blast at the annual Hampton Blackbeard Festival this year. Especially little D! Unfortunately, his friend and little sister were afraid to get in this shot........

In a few days we will be headed to New York City for a family vacation and so, I thought I'd combine our vacation fun with this one great book: The Old Pirate of Central Park. Originally, I picked up this book because the illustrations looked like lionocuts and I was baffled by how the artist/author, Robert Priest managed to block in all the colors to perfection. After reading the copyright page I learned that his method was not linocut but airbrushed enamel on clayboard, amazing! Stencils and scratching? I may have to track down Mr. Priest for an interview and find out more.

The kids' choice for bedtime for the past 3 nights, it's the story of an old, retired pirate living in New York city. He builds a tiny replica vessel of his ship, The Laughing Dog, and sets it to sail on the model boat pond in Central Park. Then, along comes a retired queen with her ship, The S.S. Uppity Duchess, which took over the pond nearly sinking all the other ships and sailboats. A cannonball war ensues between the two and "Thus began the infamous Battle of Central Park." The cannonballs were flying and "people hid under tables and dogs broke free and ran wild after years of being cooped up in tiny apartments."

Finally a truce is called as both retirees need to go home to take their naps. Now these two "Old Retirates" become the best of friends and can be found sitting together on a bench beside the pond in Central Park. I will be on the lookout for them when we visit.
The Central Park Water Conservancy model boat pond was inspired by the model boat ponds of Paris. It was also the setting for E. B. White's famous boat race in Stuart Little.
So if you're in New York with your little pirates, be sure to drop by the sailboat pond located on the east side between 72-75th Street. It's free and so much fun!


  1. Love the lady pirates pic! And I'll be with you all at the boat pond in the park in spirit. Have fun!!!!

  2. Thanks N! I'll keep you posted on any new Mom & Pop bookshops I find in the East Village and I'll be on the lookout for new picturebooks to bring back with us too :)

  3. Sounds like a good read for me (we live in Brooklyn). I wanted to share that this month I am devoting my blogs to books. Many of my picks are Children's Books, others are devoted to parents. Plus, I've got great contests and exclusive interviews, such as this one with Mo Willems:

    I hope you will stop by!

  4. Hi Nicole- we always love a good Mo Willems interview! Thanks for the link.


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