I love this series of humorous novels, that include The Pirates! (In an Adventure with Ahab),The Pirates! in an Adventure with Communists and the upcoming The Pirates! in an Adventure with Napoleon.
This first book in the series is set in 1837, and follows the adventures of The Pirate Captain (that is the only name he's called. His crew have names like the Pirate Who Wore Red and so on...) and his crew of non-orthodox pirates. They meet a young Charles Darwin and Mister Bobo, a highly trained and sophisticated "man-panzee".
The Pirate Captain doesn't really know what he is doing, but is very much respected by his crew. He has a full luxuriant beard. His arch nemesis is Black Bellamy, a pirate with a beard that goes all the way up to his eyes, who often outsmarts the pirate captain.
The book is not aimed at children, as much of the humor relies on an adult appreciation of the cliché and irony, and resembles, sometimes, British shows Monty Python, Dave Allen and The Two Ronnies.