The Young Man and the Sea
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Written by Rodman Philbrick

SEACOAST BOOKS

JUST RELEASED. Kittery author Rod Philbrick does it again. The author of Freak the Mighty and the Fire Pony creates another classic book for kids. This time he focuses on his own #1 passion -- fishing.

 

This starkly dramatic yet poignant novel takes readers on an exciting journey with 12-year-old Skiff Beaman, a determined boy from a small Maine town. Skiff's mom died recently, and his fisherman dad won't get off the TV couch to do anything but get another beer, so these days Skiff has to take care of everything himself. When their boat sinks, Skiff discovers it will cost thousands to buy her a new engine. Skiff's lobster traps won't earn him enough, but there are bigger fish in the sea--bluefin tuna. If he can catch one, he just might save the boat--and get his family back on its feet again.

$16.95 Hardcover
Blue Sky Press (2004)
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 From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8--A 12-year-old protagonist replaces Ernest Hemingway's elderly Santiago in this takeoff on the classic novelette, set this time in coastal Maine. Skiff has lost his mother and, since her death, his father, once a hardworking fisherman locally known for his skills with a harpoon, has sunken into such deep, beer-soaked despair that his son can't seem to rouse him off the couch. As Skiff tries to single-handedly stem the rising tide of slovenly decay threatening to swamp what's left of his family, he also must contend with Tyler Croft, a bullying rich kid who sabotages his efforts to get ahead. Things seem entirely hopeless until the day he sees a giant tuna hauled in from offshore and sold for a large sum as a source for premium sushi. The fish literally and symbolically embodies all of Skiff's ambitions for a better life, and he decides to try to catch one using just a 10-foot plywood boat and a harpoon created by his father. As in The Old Man and the Sea, the ensuing adventure is told through an inner dialogue, one in which Skiff sometimes imagines he is speaking to his mother. This excellent maritime bildungsroman has all of the makings of a juvenile classic: wide-open adventure, heart-pounding suspense, and just the right amount of tear-jerking pathos, all neatly wrapped up in an ending that--unlike its namesake's--is purely triumphant. A great read-aloud, a natural for classroom use, and a must-have for all collections.--Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI
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SEE: We Go Fishing with Rod & Reel
VISIT: Rod Philbrick's Web Site