Authors: Brian James
by Brian James
illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
Grosset & Dunlap
For my pirate pal Dan.—BJ
To Grammy & Grandpa, for treating
every drawing I’ve ever done as a piece
to be treasured.—JZ
GROSSET & DUNLAP
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Text copyright © 2008 by Brian James. Illustrations copyright © 2008 by Jennifer Zivoin.
All rights reserved. Published by Grosset & Dunlap, a division of Penguin Young
Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014. GROSSET & DUNLAP
is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Printed in the U.S.A.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2007018785
ISBN: 978-1-101-65061-5 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
“Arrr! Row! Row! Row!” Rotten Tooth shouted as the little dinghy made its way over the waves. Each time he shouted, the rest of us pirates on board the little boat had to pull back on the oars as hard as we could.
“Blimey, being a pirate kid sure is hard work sometimes,” I said.
“Aye, Pete, and splashy work,” Gary added.
Gary was my best mate at Pirate School. We both had light-colored hair. And we both wore pirate hats. But unlike me, Gary was a little clumsy. So every time he pulled on the oar, he got splashed in the face. And since we were sharing an oar with
our friend Inna, it meant she got a little splashed, too.
“Arrr! Maybe if you weren’t such a blunder head, it wouldn’t be so splashy!” Inna shouted. She was the only pirate kid I knew who didn’t like to get splashed. She was also the only pirate kid I ever met who brushed her hair and wore pretty dresses. She said splashing ruined both.
Some of the splashing even reached our friends Aaron and Vicky. They were sharing an oar behind us.
“I don’t mind the splashing,” Vicky said.
I didn’t mind it, either. It was hot in the morning sun and the splashing felt good.
We were part of our ship’s landing party. That meant we had to row the little boat all the way to the beach. But it also meant that once we made it to the beach, we got to help look for treasure.
“ROW! ROW! ROW!” Rotten Tooth shouted again. He was standing right behind us and didn’t have to row at all. That’s because he was in charge of the
dinghy and the landing party. The pirate in charge never has to row. It’s in the pirate code. In my nine and three-quarters years, I’ve learned all about the pirate code.
“ROW! ROW! Row with all your might, mateys!” Rotten Tooth yelled. I wished I didn’t have to hold both hands on the oar. Rotten Tooth’s breath was so stinky, I wanted to cover my nose.
“One day, I’m going to be the pirate in charge. Then I won’t have to row,” I said to my friends.
“Aye,” Vicky said. “Never mind the splashing—rowing is the part I don’t like.”
“Aye,” Gary said as the oar splashed us again.
Inna wiped the water away from her face. “I don’t like either part!” she exclaimed.
“Quit bellyaching,” Aaron said.
Aaron was Vicky’s twin brother. They looked exactly alike. They even dressed alike. They both had dark hair and dark eyes. They wore matching red-and-white-striped
clothes. The only thing that was different was that Aaron was a boy. And he was a show-off, too.
“Rowing is easy breezy,” he said.
Vicky gave him a long look. Aaron was leaning back with both hands behind his head.
“Arrr!” she growled. “That’s because you’re not even rowing!”
“Aye! That’s what makes it so easy,” he said.
Vicky was just about to say something else when Rotten Tooth leaned over and yelled into Aaron’s ear. “ARRR! Get to rowing, ye scurvy pup, or ye’ll be shark bait!” he shouted.
“Aye aye!” he said. He grabbed the oar and started rowing like the rest of us.
“Arrr, that’s what I thought,” Rotten Tooth snarled.
Rotten Tooth was the meanest pirate on the seas. He was also the ugliest! He had a pointy green beard and green teeth, too.
Plus, he was our teacher and the first mate of our ship, the
That meant he was the double boss of us, so it wasn’t a good idea to make him mad.
“Blimey, I hate rowing,” Aaron mumbled once Rotten Tooth wasn’t paying attention anymore.
Vicky stuck her tongue out at him. “Arrr! I told you so,” she said.
I lifted up my pirate hat and took a look ahead.
“Avast! It won’t be much longer,” I told my friends. The beach was getting closer each time we rowed. “Besides, it’ll all be worth it when we reach land. Once we get ashore, we’ll be looking for buried treasure!”
“Aye!” my friends agreed.
Looking for buried treasure was one of the most fun parts about being a pirate. This was the first time since we came to Pirate School that Captain Stinky Beard picked us to be part of the landing party. He said we’d proven that we were brave pirates.
Rotten Tooth wasn’t so sure. If it were up to him, he wouldn’t teach us anything except how to swab the deck. Lucky for us, the cap’n was the boss of him.
“I hope we find the treasure first,” Vicky said.
“Aye!” I agreed.
“That’ll show old Rotten Head,” Aaron said.
“Aye aye!” Gary said as he splashed Inna again by accident. The rest of us couldn’t keep from giggling when we saw how soggy she was.
Inna wasn’t giggling.
She gave Gary a grumpy look. “Arrr, I just hope we get there before you sink the whole boat,” she grumbled.
Vicky leaned against her shovel and crossed her arms. “Great sails! You’ll never find the treasure that way,” she yelled at Aaron.
The beach around us was covered with tiny holes that Aaron had dug. They were more like dents than holes. The rest of us were digging holes as deep as we were tall!
“You have to dig bigger holes!” Vicky told him.
Aaron folded his arms and lifted his chin in the air. That was the face he always made when he was being a know-it-all. He made that face a lot.
“Arrr! I was just starting the holes for the rest of you guys,” Aaron said.
“Aye, because that’s the easiest part!” Vicky shouted.
“Is not!” Aaron said.
“IS TOO!” Vicky shouted.
Then she marched over to Aaron and gave him a tiny shove.
I didn’t like it when my friends were fighting. So I ran over and stood between them. “Shiver me timbers! That’s no way to act on our first real pirate mission,” I shouted.
Aaron and Vicky forgot they were angry with each other and turned on me.
“Real pirate mission? That’s hogwash!” Aaron said. “Rotten Tooth only agreed to let us come along so we could row and carry shovels.”
“Aye!” Vicky shouted. “That’s why he stuck us here while the rest of the crew is way down there on the other end of the beach. That’s where Rotten Tooth thinks the treasure is!”
“Aye aye!” Inna said. “The only thing I’ve found is sand!”
“Me too,” Gary said. “I even found sand in my skivvies.” Then he jumped around and tried to shake the sand out of his pants.
“Aye. Maybe Rotten Tooth sent us here so we wouldn’t find the treasure, but Captain Stinky Beard said the treasure map wasn’t very clear,” I reminded them. “That means the treasure could be anywhere on this beach! It’s our pirate duty to help find it!”