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The Coastwatcher (Peachtree Junior Publication) Hardcover – August 30, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6–It is 1943 and Hugh and his family escape a polio epidemic by leaving Charleston for the South Carolina seashore for the summer. While there, the 11-year-old considers it his duty to watch for any signs of enemy activity. He becomes suspicious after seeing what he believes to be a periscope off the coast, finding German cigarettes, and stumbling across an unreadable map. When no one believes him, he goes out on his own to discover if the town has been secretly infiltrated. At times, it feels as though the author is compelled to get in as much background information surrounding WWII as possible. This may become a slight distraction for some readers, but the simple, flowing story will still appeal to reluctant readers, and boys, especially, will connect to the protagonist. An authors note gives more specific details about what occurred on American coastlines at this time. An enjoyable historical novel.–Christine McGinty, Newark Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. It's 1943, and 11-year-old Hugh and his family are spending the summer on the South Carolina^B coastline to avoid the war and the polio epidemic. Hugh spends time watching the Atlantic through binoculars, pretending to look for signs of the enemy. Then he actually sees the enemy--lots of them--and the game becomes far too real. At first, he only thinks he sees a periscope in the water, but as the clues amass, he becomes sure that Germans are hiding in an abandoned house nearby. His parents and his sister think his obsession with the war has gone too far, but he is determined to prove them wrong. Weston's account of a boy foiling a German plot to destroy the Charleston Naval Base is less ludicrous than it sounds, though it has its unbelievable moments. In fact, it's a tautly woven story that blends an intriguing mystery with historical significance. The details of the war's impact on average Americans are seamlessly interwoven into the plot, giving the story classroom possibilities. Krista Hutley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Series: Peachtree Junior Publication
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561453501
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561453504
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,863,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Janet on February 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
While scouting for books for my grandson I found Coastwatcher and read it less than 24 hours because I couldn't put it down. There is a fast paced plot which begins with a periscope sighting off the South Carolina coast by an 11 year old boy. He pursues his clues and there is an exciting conclusion. Of interest to me were descriptions of 1943 wartime America which I lived through - including rationing, radio news, blackouts, and the great volunteer war effort. It has historical interest for children and the book has useful information at the back for teachers. The descriptions of life in a south Atlantic coastal setting are beautifull and evocative of the place and time. It is wonderful to read about children playing together without so much adult supervision and the sedentary influences of TV, computers, and Ipods. All the characters, including the dog, are well drawn and charming.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Donny B. Seagraves on June 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Augusta, Georgia author Elise Weston offers readers an intriguing mystery set during the time period of World War II -- August 1943 to be specific -- on the coast of South Carolina. The story begins when eleven-year-old Hugh, who is coastwatching with binoculars, spots a periscope that he believes belongs to a German submarine close to the beach.

Hugh continues to monitor the area where he's staying with his family in a beach house. A flashing light in an abandoned beach house dubbed "the spook house" by Hugh and his siblings catches his eye. As the plot unfolds, Hugh keeps a scrap book of the war, adding details and evidence that result from his coastwatching adventures.

Though this book is a perfect companion for a lazy afternoon at the beach, it is also a good reading choice for any time of the year. The plot moves fast, the setting will make the reader wish for the beach, and the historical accuracy and details bring this period to life for readers young and old. Well-drawn characters that literally step off the pages, sand, salt air, and a satisfying ending all combine to make this an outstanding read.
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Format: Paperback
Found this book for $1 and thought it sounded interesting for my 4th grade son. I let him read the book jacket and he agreed. What did we have to lose but a buck? Well, it was well worth my dollar bill and even the hardback cover price of $14.95! Growing up going to the coast of SC made this book even more appealing.

I won't go into what the book is about, as you can read that on the summary and other reviews here. My son and I read some of this book together and some parts on our own, but in the end, we both really enjoyed this book. I love that it is historical and suspenseful at the same time. I thought it was a perfect read for my nine year old son, who typically enjoys non-fiction books. He is not into the Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and that type of material, which I am quite glad. This is just a good, wholesome book that fourth graders through adults can enjoy. It's a fun and pretty simple read.
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By cookit on May 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My son and I came across this book and decided to order it. What a great story. My 8 year old, loved the plot. It kept him engaged from the first to last page. He said it was his favorate book this year.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mocknmock on March 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a teacher in South Carolina, I highly recommend this book. If you aren't, I still highly recommend this book. Awesome read for both girls and boys.
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