About the Holiday
The purpose of today’s holiday is simple—to fully appreciate the family one has, whether it is small or large, with a whole crew of siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and others. The founders of Family Day, which is celebrated on different dates around the world, wanted people to relax their busy schedules and spend time with those they love in a meaningful and fun way. The great thing about family is they are always there for you when you need them most—as we see in today’s book!
Meet the McKaws
By Ged Adamson
Captain Stan and Tiny McKaw, Stan’s parrot first mate, love everything about being pirates—“Sailinng the seven seas, fighting battles, and searching for treasure! What could be better? Yes, life is pretty perfect for Stan and Tiny” until…Tiny’s parents come to visit. Mr. and Mrs. McKaw aren’t on board 5 minutes before the squawking begins. Mrs. McKaw takes exception to Stan: “‘He doesn’t’ look like much of a captain to me. He’s just a boy!’” And while Mr. McKaw is trying to apologize for his wife’s behavior, he lets out “a huge, disgusting BURP!”
Tiny’s mom is appalled at the state of the ship, calling it “a messy old wreck,” and Tiny’s dad starts in with a long, meandering story of his days as a pirate, complete with a treasure map, a deserted island, the Kraken, sword fights, canon fire, a treasure chest, and even a commendation. I think you get the picture. Problem is…Mr. McKaw never was a pirate.
Maybe a nice sit-down dinner will clear the air and get things started off on the right pegleg again. With a big grin the cook presents the special meal he has prepared in the McKaw’s honor, but after “just one mouthful, both the McKaws were violently sick. ‘Horrible! Horrible!’” cries Mrs. McKaw. The poor cook bursts into tears and runs back to the galley. Perhaps nighttime will bring a little relief. But no, Mr. McKaw snores and Mrs. McKaw nags in her sleep.
The next morning Captain Stan wakes up to the worst insult of all—guano dots his royal blue pirate coat. Even this offense, thought, pales in comparison to what Stan sees next. Perched between his parents sits Tiny in a crisp white shirt and tie with his feathers slicked back. This is the last straw. “GET OFF MY SHIP!!” yells Captain Stan. Mr. and Mrs. McKaw waste no time in flying the coop, but there’s no respite for Captain Stan and Tiny for dead ahead is a colossal storm.
The ship is no match for the lightning, crashing waves, and fierce winds. The cook, the cabin boy, Captain Stan, and the remains of the broken brigand are washed into the roiling sea. “Just when all seems lost, however, Tiny gives a great SQUAWK! ‘It’s Mr. and Mrs. McKaw!’” cries Stan. “‘And my aunts, uncles, cousins…everyone!’” says Tiny. The parrots rescue everyone and fly them safely to a nearby island—Blue Feather Island, which just happens to be Tiny’s home.
All the members of the parrot family help Stan build a new ship, and in the process he discovers a new perspective on Mrs. and Mr. McKaw’s personalities. “Mrs. McKaw’s bossiness turned out to be very useful” as she delegates jobs, and Mr. McKaw keeps the crew entertained while they work “just by being Mr. McKaw.” The two are even hungry enough to eat up everything the cook prepares, much to his delight.
With a new ship finally complete, it’s time for the McKaws to take wing. Stan thanks them for all their help and apologizes for throwing them off his ship. On her part, Mrs. McKaw apologizes for being rude and thanks Stan for taking care of Tiny. And what about the new ship? It might be even better than the original with a bold parrot-emblazoned sail and a parrot figurehead pointing the way. As the crew sets sail, Captain Stan acknowledges, “‘You know, Tiny, I’m really glad I met the McKaws.’”
With the dash of a swashbuckler and the true aim of a compass, Ged Adamson depicts the high and low tides of family life in this high seas adventure. His humorous portrayals of personality traits that can drive family members crazy will resonate with kids and adults alike as they laugh through the travails Captain Stan and Tiny suffer during a visit by Tiny’s parents. In a sweet turn of events, though, Adamson reminds us that when storms come—in whatever form—the momentary squalls are forgotten, the anchor of family relationships is dropped, and everyone battens the hatches together.
Adamson’s vivid illustrations of Captain Stan in his sharp pirate garb, colorful (in more ways than one) Mr. and Mrs. McKaw, and the well-fitted wooden ship will delight pirate fans of all ages. Mr. McKaw’s imaginary stories are cleverly portrayed as chalk drawings on a black background, and the sea swirls with cool hues of blue and turquoise. Like Captain Stan readers will be glad they have a chance to Meet the McKaws and will want them to visit again and again.
Ages 4 – 8
Sky Pony Press, 2015 | ISBN 978-1629146188
Discover more of Ged Adamson’s work on his website!
Meet Ged Adamson and learn about his inspirations, his writing life, and his other books in this funny and insightful Q & A!
Family Day Activity
Avast! Pirate Treasure Map Board Game
Gather your family around and set out to discover buried treasure and the treasure of spending time together! This printable, original board game has all the excitement of a pirate voyage across the bounding main, including shark attacks, mutiny, the Kraken, mermaids, mateys, and more!
Printable Avast! Game Board and Game Pieces
- Avast! Map: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4
- Avast! Pirate Loot Tokens
- Avast! Game Cards: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4
- Card Stock paper (optional)
- Poster board (optional)
- Glue (optional)
- Tea bag (optional)
- Paint brush (optional)
- Parchment colored printing paper (optional)
- Print the Avast! Board Game pages (Options: print on white paper, parchment-colored paper, or on card stock. To make white paper appear old – as in the picture – paint with a tea wash before taping together. See directions for tea wash below)
- Tape together the 4 pieces of the map. (Option: map pages printed on regular paper can be glued to a piece of poster board to make the game board more sturdy.)
- Print the Avast! Pirate Loot Tokens
- Cut out the Avast! Pirate Loot Tokens
- Print the Avast! Game Cards
- Cut out the Avast! Game Cards
To use a tea bag to make the map look old:
- Steep a black tea tea bag in 1/4 cup boiling water for 3 minutes
- Squeeze the tea bag dry over the cup and discard
- With the paint brush, paint the 4 pages of the map with the tea before taping them together
- Let dry or dry with a hair drier set on Low.
To Play the Game
- Each player chooses a Pirate Loot Token as their playing piece to move along the board
- Shuffle and stack the Game Cards
- Choose which player will go first
- Players choose the top card from the pile and follow the directions to move spaces on the game board.
- After moving, players should put their game card in a discard pile
- If Game Cards run out before the end of the game, flip over the discard pile and use the cards again
- The first player to arrive at the X on the map finds the treasure and is the winner!
Picture Book Review