Book Review: Guide to Pirate Parenting

Cap’n Billy “The Butcher” MacDougall’s Guide to Pirate Parenting is a refreshing voice in the realm of parenting books.

The cover of the book Guide to Pirate Parenting.Author Tim Bete ostensibly recounts the words of the plunderer Cap’n Billy, as dictated from a bar stool, spoofing the parenting book genre with good-natured humor.

For example, in a section answering common questions from new parents, this question is posed: “My wife and I are expecting our first baby pirate. How can we gain confidence regarding how to take care of him?” That parent responds to Cap’n Billy’s advice with a follow-up question, “Can I substitute a live monkey for the squid?”

Sorry, you’ll have to read the book to understand the context.

The end of every chapter includes a checklist to gauge your child’s developmental progress. For example, a chapter on sleep issues has you check off bedtime stories your child has asked you to read, such as One Beard, Two Beards, Red Beard, Blue Beard and Oh, the Places You’ll Go After You Get Off this Infernal Deserted Island.

You’d be hard pressed to glean traditional parenting advice from the text. It really is levity for levity’s sake, with a bent that only a parent can appreciate. As with any attempt at rapid fire humor, not every joke hits, but the hits are frequent, and the material is interesting. The book kept me entertained, particularly the pirate-versions of popular nursery rhymes peppered through several chapters.

I recommend Pirate Parenting to folks who have survived their first year as moms and dads. By that time, you are sick of parenting books, and are distanced enough (numbed enough) from the stresses of parenthood that you can appreciate a bit of lighthearted absurdity.

And now, the table of contents…

  1. How I met Cap’n Billy and why you should raise your children to be pirates
  2. Baby pirates—mapping out your child’s future
  3. Belly timber—feeding your pirate
  4. Sleeping like a seadog and other nocturnal issues
  5. Quelling mutinies—disciplining your pirate
  6. Scurvy and hook injuries—pirate health and safety
  7. Your pirate’s first ship—how to convert your minivan into a pirate schooner
  8. As your pirate gets older (the teen years and beyond)

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