Baggywrinkles: A Lubber's Guide to Life at Sea
Lucy Bellwood, illustrator
Welcome to the world of Baggywrinkles—a rollicking, educational survey of maritime lore, built around cartoonist Lucy Bellwood's time aboard tall ships. From the scourge of scurvy to the exhilaration of climbing the rigging for the first time, Lucy's comics bring the reader into a world of high seas history and informative adventure with "a sheer and unremitting sense of joy" [Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier].
Bellwood’s stints as a deckhand on the Lady Washington, a modern-day replica of an 18th-century brig, inform this funny and enlightening comics collection, which is part memoir, part breezy overview of nautical history and lore. In six longer comics and several interludes, she discusses her own introduction to confusing nautical terminology (“So I’m guessing you could easily find me the for’topms’tays’lhalyrd,” jokes a crewmate), the scourge of scurvy, the dubious history of plank walking, and a notable voyage of the original Lady Washington to Japan, more than 60 years before Commodore Perry showed up, among other topics. Bellwood is a gifted raconteur, skillfully blending historical anecdotes with irreverent contemporary humor (“So we’re gonna need like... all of these,” two admirals tell a Sicilian lemon farmer, aiming to curb scurvy). Her artwork, meanwhile, is in line with of-the-moment creators such as Kate Beaton and Lucy Knisley, and her chunky line work also nods to woodcut prints and tattoos, the latter getting their own chapter, too. The only downside to this collection is its brevity—here’s hoping Bellwood has more stories on the way, nautical or otherwise. Ages 9–12. (BookLife)