Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nihilism For Kids: The Littlest Pirate King

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!  Raise the skull and crossbones, m'hearties!  ARRR!  Just practicing my lingo for Talk Like a Pirate Day, which hoists its sails in a few weeks' time.  Everyone knows how jolly and frolicsome pirates are nowadays.  Well, everyone except for David B.

When I pulled The Littlest Pirate King from the shelves for Reading My Library, I mainly picked it because I wondered why this graphic novel rated as a fiction book rather than a comic book, which in my library would mean shelved in nonfiction.  Or as a picture book, judging by the dimensions.  Well, it's definitely not aimed at the preschool crowd; it's pushing the limits to stay in Children's rather than YA sections.  I guess because there is very little sex, only horrific but not graphic violence and emotional despair, which are fine for the kiddies, right?  Well, I actually agree that kids can handle it, but I still think it odd that sex is the only marker for how "mature" something is rated.  Well, regardless of that rant, this book is dark.

The zombie pirates in this book cringe at their unchanging existence, and vent their horror by massacring everyone in their path.  They only keep the baby so they can enjoy killing him once he is big enough to justify it.  And he's only saved because death itself has no horror for him; in their love for him, the zombies deny him death and exile him to return to the living, beings that he can only view with fear and loneliness.  Avast!


captain koma said...

I just finished reading it and I saw this as a story of redemption for the pirates. They know they are damned and cannot allow the child to live in their damnation.

Beth said...

Yes, the pirates definitely move away from torture and towards redemption. The irony is that the child can't see their acts as merciful -- to him he's being exiled from the only family he knows. The book ends before he meets other people.