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Children's Fiction Pre-confederation (to 1867)

Beware, Pirates!

by (author) Frieda Wishinsky

illustrated by Dean Griffiths

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Mar 2016
Pre-Confederation (to 1867), General
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2016
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2007
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2007
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 9
  • Grade: 1 to 4


In Beware, Pirates!, the debut title in the Canadian Flyer Adventures series, friends Matt and Emily discover the Canadian Flyer, a magical time-traveling sled, in Emily’s attic. The magic sled transports them back to the year 1577 where they find themselves aboard Martin Frobisher’s ship, The Aid. Adventure beckons, and Emily and Matt are happy to follow. Until, that is, they encounter a crew of pirates! Author Frieda Wishinsky weaves well-researched and accurate historical facts into her compelling, kid-friendly storytelling, while Dean Griffith’s evocative illustrations situate readers perfectly in place and time. At the end of their adventure, Emily and Matt share additional facts about pirate ships, Nunavut, and Martin Frobisher, and Wishinsky gives additional facts here too, in an informative Q&A format.

About the authors


Frieda Wishinsky
est l'auteure de plus de 40 livres pour enfants. Parmi les ouvrages déjà
parus, on peut citer, entre autres,

Ounga Bounga, Tu es méchante Lily-Ange!, Le sac à main de la reine,
Canada en vedette

et les romans de la série Catastrophe! Elle vit à Toronto, en


FRIEDA WISHINSKY has written over seventy books for children, including Oonga Boonga; You're Mean, Lily Jean; the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award winner Please, Louise!; the middle-grade series Survival, and the non-fiction books Explorers Who Made It . . . or died trying; Everything but the Kitchen Sink and Colossal Canada. Frieda lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband. Visit her online at

Frieda Wishinsky's profile page

Dean Griffiths is a popular picture book artist with more than 25 titles to his name. His many awards include the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Book Prize for Maggie Can't Wait and the Chocolate Lily Award for Ballerinas Don't Wear Glasses. Dean's 2012 title Lumpito and the Painter from Spain has been nominated for the SYRCA Shining Willow Award and was a Bank Street Best Book. His most recent book is When Emily Carr Met Woo. Dean lives in Duncan, British Columbia, with his daughter.

Dean Griffiths' profile page


  • Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year
  • Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year

Editorial Reviews

This series would make a great read-aloud choice for parents or teachers, and readers will have a hard time putting the books down…a very welcome addition to the historical fiction genre and provides a much-needed Canadian perspective. Highly recommended.

CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials

Frieda Wishinsky succeeds in transporting the reader back in time with her new Canadian Flyer Adventures series. This reviewer gives this new historical time travel series 5 magical stars.

Sarah's Stars

This wonderful new Canadian historical adventure series combines magic and history to whisk young readers away on adventure…A fun way to learn about Canada’s past.

BC Parent

…the story is highly entertaining, very educational but not too challenging. Of particular interest to adults is the Canadian content – which is excellent. The fact sheets at the end of the book are an additional and welcome support to curriculum links and further reading. A terrific new series addition for all collections.

Resource Links

After a series of adventures involving pirates and a friendly Inuit boy names Minik, [Emily and Matt] learn more than they ever could have from a history textbook. Every book in this new series promises to shed light on a different chapter of Canadian history.

The Monreal Gazette

Finally we have a series for young readers that entails adventure, Canadian history, male and female main characters and all at an appropriate reading level.

Benjamin's Books

…a truly intriguing mixture of the fantastic and the historical and provides a unique and clever way to entertain and educate.

CD Syndicated

…a new chapter book designed to bring history alive in the elementary grades.

The Vancouver Sun

Frieda Wishinsky uses the classic Canadian sled as a magic portal to send her two sleuths off on historical adventures…Wishinsky weaves just enough history into the adventure to give an authentic flavour to the action.

City Parent

What child can resist a great adventure? Add in the element of time travel and you have a sure winner on your hands! […] Our youngest generation can learn for themselves that Canadian history is NOT boring…and have lots of fun along the way.

Canadian Children's Book News

It’s a fascinating and welcome twist on the usual pirate adventure…Readers who love facts and tidbits of historical information won’t want to miss the sections at the back…This series of books fills the need for simple but engaging stories that teach kids about Canada.

Montreal Families

Author Wishinsky touches upon geography, social studies and other cultural matters, and thoughtfully provides notes at book’s end…For a gentle, instructive introduction to “grown-up” chapter books, Beware, Pirates fits the bill.

The Hamilton Spectator

With short chapters, a simple plot, lots of dialogue, and plenty of illustrations…The story moves along quickly at just the right level for children making the transition to independent reading.

Island Parent

The Canadian Flyer Adventures is a cool new historical adventure series…Each title is a stand-alone, content driven historical adventure designed to inform as well as entice.

Short chapters, simple language and a fast moving story all make this a fun adventure for young readers…This book, and the others in the series, will make an excellent addition to both classroom and home libraries across Canada.

Canadian Bookseller

…easily accessible to kids who are learning to read chapter books…The most vivid aspect of [Wishinsky’s] story is its critical perspective on Canada’s colonial history.

Quill & Quire

The Canadian Flyer Adventures…impart Canadian facts and history, while telling an exciting story…[Readers] will enjoy these stories and learn something about Canada while doing so!

Quebec Home & School News

Short chapters and black and white illustrations add to the appeal of this new series for readers in the 6 to 9 age range.

Canadian Teacher

Librarian Reviews

Beware, Pirates! (Canadian Flyer Adventures #1)

What child can resist a great adventure? Add in the element of time travel and you have a sure winner on your hands! In Frieda Wishinsky’s new series, Canadian Flyer Adventures, two young friends, Emily and Matt, are exploring Emily’s attic when they come across an antique sled. They soon discover that it will magically transport them to a destination of their choice, depending on which artifact they select from an old mahogany dresser in the attic.

In the first book, Beware, Pirates!, Matt and Emily ride the sled back to 1577, and end up aboard the privateer Martin Frobisher’s ship in the Arctic. There, they help an Inuit boy rescue his friend, who was taken prisoner by Frobisher. In Danger, Dinosaurs!, the second book in the series, Emily’s reluctance to explore the Late Cretaceous Period turns out to be well founded, as she and Matt have to contend with several dinosaur encounters – including a close call with a Tyrannosaurus Rex. In the third book, Crazy for Gold, the friends meet a girl named Isabel and travel with her family along the Chilkoot Pass to Dawson City, as they search for gold during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898.

Each book in the series follows a consistent format, and the adventure begins in the first few pages. Young readers will find the characters of Emily and Matt appealing because of their spirit of adventure and curiosity. Consistent in all the books, too, is the characters’ realistic dialogue – the pirates, for example, give Matt “the creeps”. Young readers will enjoy these books because of the non-stop adventures, but they will also learn a few facts about each place or event along the way. For example, in the first book, Matt and Emily discover what tundra and umiaks are, and discuss the fact that Iqaluit used to be called Frobisher Bay. These educational tidbits are nicely worked into the story and do not seem intentionally instructive.

Precocious 6-year olds will be captivated by these adventures, but the series seems best suited to 7- and 8-year olds. The length of the stories, type size and vocabulary are perfect for this age group. Dean Griffiths’ illustrations appear every few pages – many fill a whole page – which adds interest and assists newly independent readers to understand the text. Wishinsky incorporates further historical facts at the conclusion of each story, cleverly written as though Emily and Matt were sharing their favourite facts. There is still additional information, for extremely curious youngsters, in a reader-friendly question-and-answer format.

The Canadian Flyer Adventures series is not dissimilar to the wildly popular Magic Tree House series – except here, the adventures take place in the Canadian past. Our youngest generation can learn for themselves that Canadian history is NOT boring… and have lots of fun along the way.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2007. Vol.30 No.4.

Beware, Pirates! (Canadian Flyer Adventures)

Emily and Matt journey back to 1577, where they find themselves aboard Martin Frobisher’s ship face-to-face with pirates. Includes illustrations and facts about pirates, the Inuit and Frobisher. Book One in the series.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.

Other titles by Frieda Wishinsky

Other titles by Dean Griffiths