Art director Tom Lichtenheld, a 15-year vet of Fallon/Minneapolis, turns out to be a buried treasure of misinformation about pirates. Hence his new children's book from Simon & Schuster, Everything I Know About Pirates, an amusingly gross tour of the high seas that's sure to have boys in the 4-to-8 set rolling down the plank with laughter. Besides Lichtenheld's very imaginative text and illustrations, there's even a glossary, in which we learn fascinating facts like a doubloon is "two balloons tied together." Lichtenheld may also claim that a buccaneer is "how much a pirate pays to get his ears pierced," but he takes his swashbuckling seriously. He even dresses up as a pirate for book signings. "I feel like Chuckles the Clown," he laments. Oddly, he never dressed as a pirate for Halloween when he was a kid, but he did wear an eyepatch for his school picture one year when he had a black eye on picture day. "It was my mother's idea, but I thought it was pretty cool at the time," he recalls. "I guess I was destined to write about pirates."
He never dressed up as monster when he was a kid either, but he's contracted for two more books, and the next will be Everything I Know About Monsters. "I doubt I'll dress up as a monster for book signings," he cautions. "I usually just dress up as a white guy." A white guy who seems to have a very rewarding second career developing, however. "Yes, it's rewarding in every way except financially," Lichtenheld notes. "It' not job-quittin' pay." On the other hand, his ad experience can be a great inspiration. No doubt his assertion that, "Most pirate voyages include complimentary peanuts and beverages" came out of his United Airlines work. Nevertheless, he's cutting back his hours at Fallon so he has more time to work on the books. "But don't get the wrong idea," he hastens to add. "I love my job."