POULSBO — He’s no Capt. Jack Sparrow, but Won Israel doesn’t shy from a good swashbuckling sword fight and is no stranger to digging up buried treasure — especially when books are the “X” marking the spot.
Israel’s pirate persona “Captain Arrr” will be landing on the shores of Liberty Bay next Tuesday to teach and entertain children at the Poulsbo Library. Kids can expect to have their timbers shivered starting at 10:30 a.m. that day.
Capt. Arrr is accustomed to the scenario and has made appearances at Kitsap Regional Libraries in Bremerton, Kingston, Little Boston, Manchester, Port Orchard and Silverdale for summer reading programs. And now it’s Little Norway’s turn to walk the plank.
“Kids just love pirates. He’s been to almost all of the branches in the county and children have loved it,” said KRL director of support services Carol Schuyler. “They have had a wonderful time, and he’s been well received at each library. He relays the importance of reading to children.”
Poulsbo branch young people’s librarian Suzanne Grue is thrilled about Captain Arrr’s appearance.
“We’re so excited about it. We already have a lot of kids who signed up to be here when he comes,” she said. “There’s going to be a lot of happy kids.”
Grue said such programs tend to attract a larger contingent of children to the libraries.
“Events like these sometimes bring children into the library that haven’t been here before. It reaches out into the community. Pirates are a popular theme,” she said. “We want children to discover books. The goal is to make kids life-long readers and learners.”
Israel has performed in comedic routines in various locations in the United States for about 38 years. For the past four months, he has perfected his pirate routine throughout Washington.
“I am a character comedian,” he said. “I have received a great response ever since I began playing this character. A pirate is a character on an adventure.”
Israel will entertain children with various activities including storytelling, telling jokes, juggling and singing pirate songs. The goal is to relay the importance of reading to every youngster in attendance.
“I want to make them realize that the adventure is right there in the books in the library,” he said. “They really don’t have to go on a ship to find adventure. They can use their imagination when they’re reading. My motto is: Live, love, laugh and be happy.”