Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Great Wide Sea by M.H. Herlong

Under the heading- don't judge a book by its cover... This book cover reminds me of my high school English course when we read Old Man and the Sea. However- this book is amazing!
3 Boys, 1 Dad and 1 sailboat. When 15 year old Ben's mother dies, the family is left reeling. Slowly, they are coming to grips with this tragedy. Then, Ben's father announces (doesn't ask, just tells them) that they are going to spend the year sailing in the Bahamas. This means they are selling their childhood home, getting rid of everything important and moving onto a very small sailboat. Each of the brothers gets a drawer to pack everything that is important to them.

Ben is very annoyed. During the trip, he fights constantly with his dad. He does what is expected, he looks after his two younger brothers, but he avoids his dad at all costs - this isn't easy to do on a sailboat. One morning he wakes up and discovers his dad is gone. It is up to Ben to take care of his brothers- any way he can.

I found this book so gripping. The information about sailing and life at sea was interesting and the relationship between Ben and his brothers was very touching. The relationship Ben has with his dad just about broke my heart reading it.

This would make a great read aloud on survival, perseverance and coping with a death in the family.

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