Jack Plank is an out-of-work pirate; he lost his job because he just wasn't very good at it, and times were getting hard for his ship's crew. So they let him off in a Caribbean town called Saltwash, where he tries to make his way. He takes a room at a boardinghouse where they know he was a pirate, and they give him a week or so to find a job and prove that he plans on being a productive member of society.
What follows is a series of stories told by Jack, each one outlining why he is not able to do a specific job - he has a story for each one, although sometimes the story does not seem to directly relate to the job itself, or why he is unable to do it. But in the end, Jack discovers what he is able to do - tell a story!
The stories are whimsical and often silly, as are his audience's responses to his tales. This book was written for kids in grades two through six, but would probably be enjoyed by the younger ones more. It would also be a fun story to read aloud to, or along with first or second graders. It is not a book that would be enjoyed as much by every age, but for younger elementary school children, it's a great choice.