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On Sand Island (Golden Kite Honors) Hardcover – August 25, 2003


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Series: Golden Kite Honors
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (August 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061823151X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618231515
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,815,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3-This picture book about a family living on an island in Lake Superior is so finely honed and concisely written that it reads like poetry. Carl wants a boat of his own. With hard work and lots of help from his neighbors, he manages to craft a small vessel. Each spread features a large illustration that emanates mist, light, fog, and even sand and sawdust, and always a sense of water and humidity. The watercolors are subdued, almost pointillist washes with stylized fine ink outlines framing fish, figures, the boat, and trees. There is pleasure, a sense of wonder, and appreciation for small details in nature and community in this celebration of a boy's first success. The writing has the smooth, easy rhythm and flow of oars dipping and lifting through the water, and with each immersion a fine thought surfaces. The book's lyrical quality has the feel of such classics as G. Macdonald's The Little Island (Dell, 1993) and Robert McCloskey's One Morning in Maine (Viking, 1952).
Susannah Price, Boise Public Library, ID
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* PreS-Gr. 2. In this picture book by the author of Snowflake Bentley (1998), thoughtful blank verse and evocative illustrations tell about a boy who builds his own boat and realizes a dream. After the death of his mother, young Carl lives with his sister and fisherman father in a close, Scandinavian American community on Lake Superior's Sand Island. He longs to push off in his own boat to a place where the quiet is "filled with water and sky," and with the help of his neighbors, he builds a rowboat, enjoys a blissful day on the lake, and returns to a "newest boat" celebration. Martin's simple, poetic text deftly balances small, revealing details about the island's characters and Carl's life with the particulars of boat building. Some children may find the story too quiet, but they'll be drawn in by the illustrations, which capture the lake's translucent light and the story's nostalgic mood in expert, geometric line drawings washed with watery blue-green and sunset-orange colors. A subtle, beautifully crafted story about hard work, simple joys, and the small, warm communities of the historic upper-Midwest. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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See all 5 customer reviews
This is a wonderful and evocative book.
Bob M
The themes in the book are of independence, hard work, perseverance, and ingenuity.
ChristineMM
This is a great book about getting what you want by giving others what they need.
M. Heiss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ChristineMM TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is based on a true story, a 10-year-old boy whose mother is deceased, living on Sand Island (in Lake Superior), a community of Norwegian's, with his father and with his younger sister. His father is a fisherman and he longs for the day when he can have his own boat. His younger sister tells him he is too young to own his own boat. He decided to make his dream a reality and one step at a time, and does build his own boat. He does not have a full plan at the beginning but takes it one step at a time. He finds male neighbors and friends to help him along the way, by borrowing a tool or bartering his work for their time and labor. I found it odd that he never asked his father for help, a little odd that there was more help from neighbors than his own father, but I assume his father was very busy fishing to support his family! The last step in the process was getting oars and his father did give him some old oars that they had in storage, which Carl had to refinish.
The themes in the book are of independence, hard work, perseverance, and ingenuity. I thought the boys resourcefulness in finding help wonderful. The boy's positive attitude is wonderful. With each step of the boat-building project we see the amount of hard work that he had to put into making it, a wonderful thing to see in a 10 year old.
The book ends first with Carl's peaceful and rewarding solo boat ride then with a party to celebrate the newest boat on the island including music and dancing.
The illustrations are gorgeous, pale paintings that look as if painted atop a canvas laid with sand!
In the author's note at the back of the book, I learned that this tale is set in the early 1900s and is based on a real person named Carl Dahl. In the 1940s sea lampreys came into Lake Superior and killed all the whitefish and trout, essentially killing the fishing industry there. The site of Carl Dahl's home is now being used to house a ranger's cabin for the National Park Service.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bob M on December 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful and evocative book. Sand Island is a real place, where real people used to live, and the author does a marvelous job of presenting the way life was like for a curious young boy growing up on this little island in the middle of Lake Superior.
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Format: Hardcover
This picture book is based on a true story of a little boy who lived long ago on Sand Island. His dad is a fisherman and the little boy wants to be like him. He sets out to build his own boat. He has to trade work for supplies and he finally gets his boat made! The whole island meets and has a party to celebrate!

I liked that the little boy used his mind to work out his problems. He didn't have some of the supplies and skills that he needed to build his boat. He went to neighors for help and offed skills that he did have in exchange.

Yes I enjoyed ths book. Kids will learn a lot of the authors note like the site of Carl Dahl's (the boy who the book is based on) home is now being used to house a ranger's cabin for the National Park Service.
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By M. Heiss on December 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
When this book was over, we wanted more.

This is a great book about getting what you want by giving others what they need. Really good setting -- believable characters and beautiful illustrations.

This is great for a family read-aloud, emphasize cooperation and goal-achieving.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is stunning. The soft, detailed illustrations. The poetic, historically sound, and emotionally riveting story. I adore On Sand Island. Leafing through this book, you can feel the island air, the water, the tender, honest drive of the main character. A beautiful, beautiful book.
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More About the Author

Jacqueline Briggs Martin is the author of Snowflake Bentley, winner of the 1999 Caldecott Medal. She grew up on a farm in Maine and now she lives in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.