Wee Granny’s Guide to Pirate Lingo

Get ready for excitement and surprises as Wee Granny (Scotland’s very own Mary Poppins!) and her magic tartan bag set off on another adventure. This time, tharr be pirates!

As Wee Granny and the children set off on their pirate-tastic adventure, we’re brushing up on our pirate lingo! Read on to learn about some of our favourite pirate words and phrases. How many can you spot in the book?

Move your mouse over each word to discover the meaning!







Jolly Roger




What are your favourite pirate words? Tell us in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

About the Book

Wee Granny's Magic Bag and the Pirates

Wee Granny is going on holiday with Emily and Harry to Arran but they’ve missed the ferry. Don’t worry; Wee Granny’s got just the thing in her magic bag – a rowing boat!

But shiver me timbers, on their journey they meet Captain Shoogle and his pirate crew.

Does Wee Granny have anything in her magic bag to help the pirates find their buried treasure? You’ll never guess what unbelievable thing she’ll pull out next!

Buy it now!


Also by Elizabeth McKay

There’s something very special about Wee Granny’s tartan bag. Each time she reaches inside, she pulls out … A BIG SURPRISE! Click the images below to find out more about her fabulous adventures!

Wee Granny's Magic Bag Wee Granny and the Ceilidh

#FlorisDesign Illustrator Interview: Si Clark

Header PDFIllustrator of…


A few weeks ago, the team here at Discover Kelpies were thrilled to announce that three (yes, THREE!) of our lovely titles had been shortlisted for the 2015 Scottish Children’s Book Awards! The following week #FlorisDesign introduced you to the first of the three illustrators involved, the fantastic Luke Newell – illustrator of Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens. This week we’re continuing our SCBA showcase with Pyrate’s Boy illustrator, Si Clark, whose swashbuckling cover would make anybody’s timbers shiver!


Ahoy Si! Thanks for taking the time to chat to us today! We’re beyond excited to hear all about your inspiration for Pyrate’s Boy, did you find it easy to get started?

Yes, I really enjoy working on Pirate themed illustrations. I grew up playing the Monkey Island games on the PC in the 90s which have inspired my work a lot.

Quite a few of our illustrators have referenced video games amongst their inspiration so it seems we have a lot to thank them for! So what’s your favourite part of the Pyrate’s Boy cover?

I like the golden colour scheme, I think it fits well with the theme. And the illustrated parts of the book title.

We love the golden colours too, although our favourite bit might be the crossed swords! Now our readers may well be interested to know that you’re not only an illustrator but an animator as well. What made you want to illustrate and animate?

I’ve wanted to do both since I was about 8. The Monkey Island computer games I mentioned before (and others like Day of the Tentacle and Sam & Max) inspired me a lot (along with lots of other things along the way) so always knew what I wanted to do with my life.

It’s great to hear that it’s been a lifelong passion! So working in both illustration and animation must require quite different approaches, do you prefer to work digitally or traditionally?

My work is a mixture of both. All of the elements of my illustrations are either drawn or painted by hand or are textures that I have found and scanned in. I use Photoshop in my work as I like to have every element on a separate layer so I can make any changes very easily. With animation I either draw every frame or draw directly on the computer.

It’s interesting to know that both your illustration and animation work requires a bit of both. So do you have a favourite thing to draw or animate?

Yes, I like creating my own little worlds and making odd little creatures to inhabit them.

That sounds fun! We do hope you’ve created a pirate world! Now, this is something we ask all of our illustrators – what do you do if you get stuck or illustrators’ block on a brief?

I get ideas for things pretty quickly most of the time. But sometimes there is a project where it’s much harder to get the idea. If this happens I will just do as much research as I can on the subject and then go and do something else like house work or going to the shops, something to take my mind off the problem and then just wait for my unconscious to work it out and then the idea pops up in my conscious mind.

That sounds like a good solution! So do you have a favourite illustrator or animator?

I really love the work of animator/director Marc Craste, especially his short film JoJo in the Stars which is truly beautiful.

Thanks for pointing us in his direction – what lovely work! And finally, because you are both an animator and an illustrator, do you ever think about how your 2D characters would move and act if they were animated? Do the two disciplines compliment one another?

Yes, I think they work well together. Whenever I have ideas for characters then they are always moving about in my imagination. They are pretty similar professions. And yes, even when I’m doing an illustration they are normally of a scene in the middle of some action so the whole scene will be playing out in my head so I can stop the camera at the right point to get the rid composition. If that makes sense.

It does indeed, thanks again Si!

Si achieved a First in his Illustration degree at The Arts Institute at Bournemouth. To see more of his brilliant work you can visit his website, his Bright Agency profile page or follow him on Twitter.

ColinPyrate'sBoy-SHORTLISTClick on the cover for more info on Pyrate’s Boy and to use our exciting See Inside feature!

Yo ho, yo ho! A Pyrate’s Life for DiscoverKelpies

DK Pyrate's Boy banner

Arrrrr, me scurvy Kelpies seadogs! Did ye ken that Thursday 19th September is International Talk Like A Pirate Day?

Wha’ d’ye mean ‘NO’? Would ye like t’ try again?

Did ye savvy it’s also th’ day Pyrate’s Boy by E.B. Colin, a handsome pirate yarn from the beauties at DiscoverKelpies, can fin’lly be exchanged for 6 doubloons or a talking parrot?

Shiver me timbers, lads and lasses! Have ye bin marooned in th’ bilge these long months? Pyrate’s Boy be a thrillin’ adventure, with swashbucklin’ pyrates, danger at every turn an’ plenty o’ cannon fire an’ booty.

Found shipwrecked by the crew of the feared pyrate ship Tenacity, Silas Orr, an 11-year-old runaway from Greenock, is given a choice:

x Take his chances in a row boat on the open water; or

x Swear to the pyrate’s code and become cabin boy for Captain Jon Harkin, the infamous pyrate Black Johnnie.

Silas chooses to stay aboard. But life on the high seas isn’t easy and when the pyrates discover a mysterious box attached to a drowning boy, they begin the fight of their lives. Their adventures take Silas from Jamaica to Glasgow, on a dangerous journey of thievery, cannon fire and kidnap – but what secrets await him there?

An’ because there be nothin’ as excitin’ as a handsome pirate yarn, the good ship Kelpies is goin’ t’ natter like a true swashbucklin’ buccaneer all day to celebrate the maiden voyage of Pyrate’s Boy. Send us yer message in a bottle, or hoist the colours on Facebook and Twitter.

But beware … landlubbers will be made to walk the plank, and ye may lay to that!

PS. Not sure how to talk like a pyrate? Never fear, here’s a handy guide with our top 10 fun words and phrases!

Posted by First Mate Nuria aboard the good ship DiscoverKelpies

Caroline Clough — Author Interview — Black Tide

In case you missed it, here’s the author interview with Caroline Clough, author of the thrilling post-apocalyptic Black Tide and Red Fever.

Q: What inspired you to write Black Tide?
Caroline Clough [CC]: When I came to the end of writing Red Fever I was really sorry to say goodbye to Toby and his family. I really wanted to know what happened to them next! I didn’t know then where they were going to end up though they were supposed to be heading for Orkney. After visiting many schools and talking to hundreds of pupils who all wanted to know what befell Toby next too, I knew that I had to write the next adventure; Black Tide.

Q: What was it like writing a sequel?
CC: It was very hard as my editor wanted the sequel to be able to be read by children who hadn’t read Red Fever, as well as those that had. This meant that I couldn’t assume that the reader knew all about Toby and his friends and family and neither could I keep referring to things that had happened in Red Fever. The easy bit was creating a new set of dangers and adventures as Toby struggles to survive in the post-apocalyptic world. I had great fun inventing new characters such as Tash, Toby’s new friend, and the evil General with his fierce henchmen, the raiders. I especially loved writing about Snowy, the wolf-dog who comes to Toby and Tash’s rescue just when things look bleak.

Q: Have you always wanted to be an author?
CC: Yes, very much so. I thought I was going to be an author from a very early age, and when, at the age of fourteen, I was runner-up in a national writing competition I thought my path in life was assured. However, my plans got way-laid somewhere and I ended up as an animal behaviourist! It wasn’t until many years later that I came back to writing fiction and now am busy following that avenue and really loving it.

Q: What’s the best thing about being an author?
CC: It is a wonderful life being an author. I am so lucky to be able to decide how to organise my days; every day is different. One day I might be writing about Toby and the mad world in which he lives, another day I might be out and about researching the places he is travelling through on his latest mission, and yet another day I might be sitting in my garden thinking of another set of stories for younger children which I am currently writing. But probably my best days are those I get to go and visit a school to talk about my books. I love meeting my readers who are all so enthusiastic and happy to chat and ask lots of questions. Meeting young people is a real privilege that comes with being an author — it helps to keep me young and inspired about my writing!

Q: Toby travels all over Scotland in Black Tide. Did you do any research to help you write about the different locations?
CC: Yes — in Red Fever the story was based in the North East of Scotland around where I have lived for thirty years so I didn’t need reminding of those places. However, with Black Tide although the locations were known to me, I wanted to go and capture their atmosphere in my mind. This meant that my husband and I spent some brilliant weekends touring Scotland to visit those places. I took pictures and made notes so that when I sat down to write about them, I knew exactly how they felt, smelt and looked like. It was important to me to recreate them accurately so that my readers could get a feel for the places and see exactly where the action all takes place.

Q: What is your favourite part of Scotland?
CC: That’s a very difficult question to answer! There are many places all over Scotland that have very special memories for me and my husband and family. One of those is Achiltibuie where the mountains sweep down to the white beaches and into the blue sea. It always seems to have better weather than we do here in Aberdeenshire! However, this is a beautiful area to live in too. I’m only ten miles from the sea, and there are dozens of castles and historical buildings and amazing walks. However, sometimes the weather can be rather daunting!

Q: Why did you include menacing dogs in your books?
CC: I knew from my work as an animal behaviourist that if human control was taken away from dogs, such as after the red fever had killed most people, then they would revert to natural wolf-like behaviour such as hunting in packs. I wanted the dangers in my books to be realistic and likely to happen after an apocalypse. I wanted my readers to be able to relate to the fears that Toby and his friends were feeling. Also I think that as humans we still have a primal fear of wild dogs from our days as hunters living in the pre-civilised times. Who doesn’t have shivers running up and down their spine when they hear a wolf howl, even if it is only on the TV?

Q: Apart from Black Tide and Red Fever, which book would you advise all children to read before they grow up?
CC: There are two really — the first one is Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, which is not only a gripping good adventure but also is hilariously funny — what a fantastic character Mr Toad is! The other one is Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson — a great adventure too but much darker and scarier. I re-read it every few years as it too goes all over Scotland and many Scottish readers will know the places described.

Q: If you had to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, what three things would you like to have with you and why?
CC: Firstly I would like to have my family with me – does that count? Not just for the obvious reasons such as I would miss them if not, but also because each of them has some wonderful talents which would be necessary to survive in this apocalyptic world. My husband is a mountaineer in his spare time and so would be great at taking us safely over mountains when we had to escape any bad men, and he can read a map! My son is a Queen’s Scout so he would be good at making fires and building shelters! And my daughter is fab at organising things and she would be great at keeping the supplies in and making sure we had enough food and fuel. Apart from them I would like to have an endless supply of paper and pens so that I could fill the time with writing even though there would be nobody left to read it! And lastly — could I have a warehouse full of thermal undies — it would be very cold in Scotland without electricity!

Q: If you had to invite three famous pirates to dinner (real or fictional) who would you choose and why?
Definitely Captain Jack Sparrow — not only is he very cute but he is very funny and I think he would liven things up as long as he didn’t drink too much rum and fall asleep! Captain Pugwash — he was always my favourite pirate on the TV when I was young. He always seems to get into terrible scrapes and still be very funny! Captain Bluebeard — he sounds like a horrible man but maybe he has just had bad press? He’d be very interesting at least as he had travelled all over the world and been in lots of dangerous situations. And if we didn’t like him we could always make him walk the plank!

Thanks Caroline!