Pirate Books, Games, and Play

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Ahoy! Get your eye patches on and read the best pirate picture and chapter books, play pirate games, and pretend play pirate. Arrrrrg.

Best Pirate Books, Games, Play

Pirate Books That Kids LOVE

Pirate Versus Pirate: The Terrific Tale of a Big, Blustery Maritime Match
could also be known as Mean Mo vs. Bad Bart. The two fierce pirates battle it out to see who is the best pirate in the world but each contest ends in a tie. The final contest is who has the most treasure. You’ll be surprised at the unexpected turn of events and how it leads to pirate love! (Which your kids may or may not really like . . . )

Pirate Books Kids LOVE
Twenty Six Pirates: An Alphabet Book by Dave Horowitz
Pirates from a to z walk the plank and want their mom. Twenty Six Pirates is perfect for every Juan, Kane, Lee, or Mark with silly illustrations to boot!

Delightful New Picture Books for Summer (2017)
Dinosaur Pirates!
by Penny Dale
Begging to read out loud, this rollicking adventure of pirates searching for buried treasure will keep your kiddos well entertained this summer.

The Treasure of Pirate Frank
by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham, illustrated by Jez Tuya
A boy and his dog follow a treasure map in this delightful cumulative story with a menacing pirate who already owns the treasure.
This is the swamp where bullfrogs sing
pas the forest where monkeys swing
over the mountains snowy and cold
on the island of spice and gold
beyond the sea that must be sailed.”
 // It’s on the map
that shows the way
to the treasure of Pirate Frank.
Through the forest, swamp, steps, and volcano the duo travel only to discover that Captain Sally Frank is NOT about to let anyone steal her treasure. Better run back the way you came…

best pirate books and games
Captain Buckleboots on the Naughty Step by Mark Sperring
When Sam is naughty, he has to go to the naughty step. When he’s there all he can do is think – no books, no toys. One day, Captain Buckleboots and others join him on the naughty step. This charming tale ends with the group finding ways to say that they are sorry. JJ said, “The pirate was just doing what pirates do!” (Does he really have to say he’s sorry for that?) My kids LOVE this book!!

best pirate books and games
Shiver Me Letters, A Pirate ABC by June Sobel
“R,” roars the captain as he sends his crew off to find the ABCs. You’ll read about their discoveries like, “They dug for doubloons and scooped up a D.” It’s fun and clever!

Pirates vs. Monsters
by David Crosby, illustrated by Lee Cosgrove
Silly, rhyming pirates tell tall tales about brave feats defeating monsters.The Crunk,” she spat, “was a two-headed beast. While one head would sleep, the other would feast. How did I beat it? With my sneaking skills. I sprinkled its grub, with crushed sleeping pills.” But when the monsters arrive, they all run away. Now it’s the monsters turn to tell tales that aren’t lies, about scaring pirates. Jaunty and funny!

best pirate books and games
How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long, illustrated by David Shannon
Melinda Long is the queen of pirate picture books — she’s written so many great ones. How I Became a Pirate is a charming story that tells of how a regular kid named Jeremy Jacob learns about pirate life– which he decides he doesn’t like as much as he thought.

2017 Christmas Picture Books
Captain Bling’s Christmas Plunder
by Rebecca Colby, illustrated by Rob McClurkan
Kids will love this funny story told in rhyme! The pirates search for loot and find Santa’s workshop toys. Santa runs after the pirates, giving each of the pirate’s gifts. But they still won’t give the toys back to Santa? You’ll never guess why — they want to help deliver the toys.

28 Wonderful Picture Books for Children
Pirate’s Perfect Pet
by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Matt Myers
Captain Crave has everything a good pirate should except for a pet. So he and his crew start searching for the perfect pirate pet. A crab is too cranky. An octopus too clingy. A pig, too muddy. An elephant, too big. But when he goes to the pet shop, he meets a parrot who poops on him and creates a ruckus — in other words, the perfect pirate pet. Dynamic illustrations and a rollicking adventure will make this a new favorite.

Pirate Adventure
by Lily Murray, illustrated by Stef Murphy
Invent a pirate story as you read each page and make choices about your destination, your route, your enemy, your reward, and more.

Captain Jack and the Pirates
by Peter Bently, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
You’ll love this captivating pretend play adventure of enemy pirates, shipwrecked, and treasure! Plus, Oxenbury’s illustrations are amazing.

Pirate Princess
by Sudipta Bardham-Quallen illustrated by Jill McElmurry
Princess Bea isn’t a proper kind of princess; she wants to be a pirate. But, once aboard the pirate ship, it turns out she’s terrible at pirating (she throws up from the crow’s nest, makes inedible stew, can’t swab the deck . . .) Just as she’s about to be thrown overboard, she smells something, she smells . . . GOLD! All is forgiven, she’s not thrown overboard and Princess Bea the Pirate’s new job is to lead the pirates to gold.

The Gingerbread Pirates
by Kristin Kladstrup
We ADORE this picture book story — where no Pirate cookies are harmed . . . Jim and his mother make gingerbread pirates and leave out the pirates for Santa. Jim keeps Captain Cookie on a plate next to his bed. Captain Cookie worries about his crew – where are they and will they be eaten by the cannibal Santa Claus? When Captain Cookie meets Santa, he learns the meaning of Christmas, when Santa makes him a real toy and gives him his own ship.

 best pirate books and games
Pirate Mega Mash-Up
 (Noisy Crow)
We love these books – and this one is tons of fun! Get reading AND writing with this silly story.

Pirate Nap a Book of Colors
by Danna Smith, illustrated by Valeria Petrone
I really love this book because it takes the color book a step further, into a compelling story. It’s a great adventure as the swashbuckling crew play around the house, find treasure, chase the purple monster little sister, and sail into nap time.

17 Children's Books That Encourage Cooperation 
Prince and Pirate
by Charlotte Gunnufson, illustrated by Mike Lowery
Prince and Pirate are two unique fish who live in their own fish bowls. Until one day they’re moved into a tank together. The two do not get along. AT ALL. They name-call and pester each other. UNTIL they work together to help the newest fish arrival, a small, scared dogfish. You’ll love the bright illustrations, hilarious dialogue, and (eventual) message of kindness.

Best Children's Chapter Books 2016
All Paws on Deck (Haggis and Tank Unleashed #1)
by Jessica Young (series)
In a word: HILARIOUS! These two dog friends with opposite personalities (and intelligence?) sail on a fun and silly pirate adventure. You will fall in love with these endearing characters!

The Jolley-Rogers and the Ghostly Galleon
The Jolley-Rogers and the Ghostly Galleon
by Jonny Duddle
Unknown pirates are robbing the town and everyone is frightened. Matilda asks her pirate friends, Jim Lad and his dad, to help. I liked the illustrations and imagine those pirate adventure enthusiasts will still find this beginning chapter book to be a fun choice.

Inside Out Pirate Ship
by Paul Beck
Read about olden days pirates, ships, symbols, guns, and more written with factual information, diagrams, and photographs.

Rafi and Rosi Pirates!
 by Lulu Delacre (level 3, early fluent)
This book is also in Spanish: Rafi y Rosi Piratas
Set in Puerto Rico with Spanish words mixed into the text, tree frogs and siblings Rafi and Rosi with big imaginations. These three stories take place at Morro Fort in San Juan. The children explore and play — pretending to be pirates, finding real gold coins, and imagining a sea monster attack. Even though it doesn’t say, this seems like a level 3 easy reader to me.

Cornelia Funke Pirate Pig
The Pirate Pig
by Cornelia Funke
A pig who can sniff out treasure!? That’s a pig whom all pirates want. When the pig is stolen, her best pirate friends, Stout Sam and Pip, endeavor to rescue her. I really want to love Funke’s new beginning reader series but I only mildly like it. Kudos to Funke on fun, colorful illustrations — they remind me of the Mercy Watson books with their structure and age-appropriateness.

best pirate books for kids
Shivers! The Pirate Who’s Afraid of EVERYTHING
by Annabeth Bondor-Stone & Connor White
Shivers is terrified of everything. Especially snails and the ocean. But when his pirate family of pirates is captured, Shivers is their only hope for rescue. Luckily the adventurous Margo can help. Very entertaining and silly easy chapter book.

best pirate books and games
The Dagger Quick
 by Brian Eames
Young boy, Kitto, must go with his pirate uncle when his dad is murdered. The story is suspenseful as Kitto tries to discover his family’s secret history and survive life among pirates. I loved the action!

Pirate Books Kids LOVE
The Jolly Regina: The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters
by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Jen Hill
Even before their parents disappeared, Jaundice and Kale Bland loathed excitement and adventure. But their boring existence is rudely disrupted when they are kidnapped by all-female pirates. Who would have thought they could adapt to pirate life, search for their long-lost pirate parents, and return home with the exact same desire for boring as when they left? Funny and very entertaining!

Pirate Books Kids LOVE
The Ice Sea Pirates
by Frida Nilsson
When Siri’s little sister, Miki, is stolen by pirates, Siri sets off on a harrowing journey to find and rescue her sister. The horrible journey isn’t easy but she eventually finally finds the hidden mysterious mine of the pirates only to be captured by the pirates herself. Very entertaining!
The Ultimate Pirate Handbook Excellent Nonfiction Books About Pirates for Kids
The Ultimate Pirate Handbook: Everything you need to know about pirate life
by Libby Hamilton, Mathieu Leyssenne, and Jason Kraft
This pirate book has it all — pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, and cartoon-like illustrations with fascinating tips and facts about pirate life. You’ll love the humor in this book, too — like the pirate personal hygiene section. This is the nitty-gritty (literally) of pirate life, right? I particularly like the Pirate sickness page — this is good stuff, my friends!

Pirate Games

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden 48-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle - PiratesMelissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden 48-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle – PiratesRavensburger Pirate Battle Puzzle (100-Piece)Ravensburger Pirate Battle Puzzle (100-Piece)Mudpuppy Pirates 42 PC PuzzleMudpuppy Pirates 42 PC PuzzleTOMY Pop Up PirateTOMY Pop Up PirateMelissa & Doug Tips Ahoy Pirate Ship Balance Game - 24 Treasure Maps, 60 Coins, 12 PiratesMelissa & Doug Tips Ahoy Pirate Ship Balance Game – 24 Treasure Maps, 60 Coins, 12 PiratesGamewright Loot Deluxe Tin - The Plundering Pirate Card Game Card GameGamewright Loot Deluxe Tin – The Plundering Pirate Card Game Card GameBlockbeard's Balance Boat Balancing Game (18 pieces) by Imagination GenerationBlockbeard’s Balance Boat Balancing Game (18 pieces) by Imagination GenerationMelissa & Doug Wooden Pirate Chest Pretend Play SetMelissa & Doug Wooden Pirate Chest Pretend Play SetManhattan Toy Dress Up Pirate Doll for ToddlersManhattan Toy Dress Up Pirate Doll for Toddlers

best pirate books and games
Loot is another entertaining game by Gamewright. (I love their games!) This is a fun card game of strategy for players 8 and older.

Pirate Activities


Dress up like a pirate. Create your ship area – ocean, fish, sharks, boat. Read pirate books. Learn more info on National Geographic. (You might want to get yourself The Guide to Pirate Parenting, too.) You might be interested to know that there is an International Talk Like a Pirate Day every September 19. Oh, yeah. I knew you’d want to know that!


Gather your props – treasure chest, treasure, treasure map, telescope, pirate flag, plank, sword, pirate patch, shield, parrot, wooden leg, and anything else your pirate might need.


Have a sword fight. (We like to use cut up pool noodles.)

Go on a treasure hunt. (see UKloo Treasure Hunt for Early Readers)

Capture prisoners and make them walk the plank. (My personal childhood favorite and why my sister still harbors hatred towards me.)

Sing sea songs, kid-appropriate of course.

best pirate activities, games, and books for kids


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  1. How on earth did I miss this pirate post!?!? My boys are way into Pirates right now. We even did a treasure hunt for gold coins buried beneath an “X” at the Beach a few weeks ago! I can’t not wait to go check out these books. (And get the game…sounds perfect for summer learning fun)!

  2. I have a little pirate fan with a birthday coming up! We have (and love) Shiver Me Letters, but I think I’m going to have to go get Pirate Vs Pirate and the pirate game because they just sound way to perfect for him to pass them up! Thanks so much for sharing!