Dirty Joe the Pirate, A True Story


Out upon the briny deep, where the wild and wet winds blow,

There sailed a cruel and evil man, the pirate Dirty Joe.

He sailed upon the scummiest craft that ever left the docks.

He roamed the world and seven seas in search of dirty socks.

It’s a funny read for would-be pirates - especially those with older sisters

About this Story

The dreaded Dirty Joe and his piratical crew sail in search of the smelliest treasure ever: dirty socks! The rogues cheerfully pillage their way across the seven seas, until the day they run across another band of pirates-one led by the notorious Stinky Annie. Has Dirty Joe finally met his match?

This zany, tongue-twisting, side-splitting tale certain to be prized by budding buccaneers!

Illustrator: Jack E. Davis |  Publisher: HarperCollins, 2008  |  ISBN-13: 978-0-06623-780-0
Ages: pre-K and up  |  Hardcover & Paperback: 32 pages




This book has everything to attract kids and tickle their funny bones-pirates, smelly socks, and, best of all, undies! In rollicking rhyme, Harley tells of a “cruel and evil man” who sails the seven seas with his crew, stealing dirty socks to hang proudly on the ship’s rigging. But Dirty Joe meets his match when he comes upon Stinky Annie and her all-female crew, buccaneers who specialize in pilfering and displaying undergarments: “Boxers big and boxers small, with stripes and polka dots,/And tighty-whities hung there too, like the ones your grandpa’s got.” After a battle fought with swords, toasters, tennis rackets, and whatever else comes to hand, the barefoot women prevail and, in a heartfelt and humorous moment, Joe and Annie discover that they are siblings. That doesn’t stop Annie from taking Joe’s drawers, leading to a last-page bemoaning of the fact that older sisters hold a lifelong upper hand. Davis’s balloon-headed, goofy characters are just right for the tale. The chaotic full-color pictures are jam-packed with pirates and dirty laundry. The crews, dressed in a hilarious mishmash of styles, will have readers poring over the pages to spot amusing details. Even kids who aren’t pirate fans will be wooed and wowed by this rib-tickling tale.

Avast, there! A ‘cruel and evil’ pirate who ‘roamed the world and seven seas in search of dirty socks’ meets his match at last. Who could that be? ‘“It’s Stinky Annie,” someone said, “and her band of smelly varmints./ She captures every boat she can and takes their undergarments.”‘ A brisk battle ensues, but once they notice that their female adversaries are fighting barefoot, Dirty Joe’s men lose heart, and then briefs. Joe and Stinky Annie look like woolly redheaded twins in Davis’s uproarious nautical scenes, and no wonder, as they turn out to be long-separated sibs. Annie shows no mercy, though, and off Joe must go to his home near the Bay of Fundy—’He’s not a pirate anymore, because he has no undies.’   Singer/storyteller Harley (who has recorded a version of this) caps his tale with the sage observation that ‘If you’ve got an older sister, then I feel bad for you, / ’Cause just as long as she’s alive, she’ll tell you what to do.’ Clever rhyming, plus illustrations filled with colorfully clad pirates and soiled laundry hoist the audience appeal here to the tiptop of the mast.


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