Given to me as a birthday present, I was intrigued by the title and cover of “Baggywrinkles: A Lubber’s Guide to Life at Sea”. At the time I joked that it was a good length for me to include in my Cannonball Read this year. This past Saturday I was running out the door to sit in a waiting room and needed a new book to read. I reached for a sci-fi novel called “Nova” that’s been waiting to be read for months now only to have “Baggywrinkles” on the shelf above catch my eye. Since I had just finished the sailing adventure Arabella of Mars, this seemed like a good follow up and it came to the appointment with me.
“Baggywrinkles” is the collected comics of Lucy Bellwood (author and artist) detailing some of her time aboard modern tall sailing ships and sailing history. Lucy’s senior year of high school she discovered that you can crew aboard sailing ships and began a life long love of the sea. Her excitement is contagious and for a moment I wondered about vacationing on a working tall ship. Mixed in with her personal anecdotes are interesting bits of history such as what do sailor tattoos mean, who made first contact with the Japanese in the late 1700s and a fascinating history of scurvy, the scourge of admirals everywhere.
Lucy’s comic art style is fun and the whole book is gorgeous to look at with beautiful chapter heading pages and details throughout. The chapters on her own experiences are filled with a healthy sense of humor as she records her inexperience. The chapters on history are thoroughly researched and presented in an engaging manner. Students may be more engaged if more history were presented in such a delightful way.
If you like humor with your history and enjoy the graphic novel format, this is an excellent read. If you’ve never read a graphic novel and have a love of sailing, this would be a wonderful place to start. I’m glad my friend gave this to me as I most likely would not have picked it up on my own. But I can foresee getting this as a present for others in the future. As to what baggywrinkles are, you’ll have to read the book to find out!