Friday, April 15, 2011

The Great Wide Sea

 The Great Wide Sea
Author: M. H. Herlong
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2008.

Plot Description:
            After Ben’s mom died, his father decides to take him and his two brothers on a year long sailing trip in the Caribbean.  It’s the last thing Ben wants to do, but as his father sells their house and packs up all their possessions and buys the boat, he realizes that he’s got no choice but to go.  As they settle into life on the sea things begin to even out a bit for Ben, and he realizes that a year isn’t too bad.  But then one morning he wakes up to find his father gone, and a storm brewing on the horizon.  Together he and his brothers must fight to keep their boat afloat in the worst storm they’ve ever seen and then survive on the island they crash into.  As they fight for survival and hope for rescue they face tougher choices than they imagined.

            A well written and engaging read about the way a family copes with a tragic loss and comes to find balance again.  Ben is a well written character who will appeal to both genders of tweens.  The skills the boys learn on their year long voyage are what enable them to survive on their own.  They realize more and more during the trip that family is what is truly important, and that being together is what keeps them safe.

Genre: Survival Fiction

Reading level: 7th-9th grade

Similar Books: Hatchet, Holes

Reader’s Advisory:
Personal thoughts- Really good book about brothers surviving together
Subjects/themes- Adventure, Survival, Loss, Brothers-
Character names/descriptions-
            Ben- wanted nothing more than to turn 16 and get a car, but instead must keep his
brothers alive when they are stranded
            Dylan- The middle child and incredibly resourceful
            Gerry- the youngest who proves adept at spear fishing
Annotation: Ever wish you could run away from your problems? Ben’s dad thought so, and now he is stuck on a boat for the next year.

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