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The Wreck of the Zephyr Hardcover – March 23, 1983


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The full-color pastel drawings are the work of a master: stunning, luminescent, and conveying a sense of the mystical and magical." Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals, for Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as the recipient of a Caldecott Honor Book for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. The author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children, he has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children’s literature. In 1982, Jumanji was nominated for a National Book Award and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg was formerly an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two children.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 500L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (March 23, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395330750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395330753
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 0.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #861,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals, for Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as the recipient of a Caldecott Honor Book for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. The author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children, he has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children's literature. In 1982, Jumanji won the National Book Award and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg was formerly an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

I very much enjoy reading this classic work to groups of young children.
D. Blankenship
The pictures are beautifully done as all of Chris Van Allsburg's are and they really capture the feeling of the book in their pages.
Sarah Parker
This book is beautifully illustrated...My 6 yr old grandson loves this book!
Terriwva

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Only once as a child have I read this book, but to this day I still remember it as one of the best. The illustrations are so life-like, and I just feel everything is done beautifully! A book every child should encounter.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I have grown up with a tattered copy of this book and never seem to tire of it! Chris Van Allsburg is the most talented artist and author of our time. I have every book he has written and anxiously await any and every book he publishes. The Wreck of the Zephyr, though, is by far my favorite. I find something new each time I crack the spine. I will cherish this, and all his works, forever.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I first fell in love with this book in elementary. And now I have purchased it for my son to treasure. This book takes you to a magical place not easily forgotten. It is worth buying for the illistrations alone. It has mystery, adventure, and it is beautifully written. My only complaint is that is too short.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on December 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Chris Van Allsburg is probably close to the top in his chosen profession...creating, writing and illustrating books for the young. As with all this author's work, and this book in particular, you either "get" Van Allsburg or you don't. Now that is not to say that people who don't "get" what the author is trying to do are bad people, stupid or insensitive; no, it only means that people perceive things differently. I personally dislike James Joyce...to the extreme! I have a great many friends who feel he is one of the greatest author's to ever write in the English Language. Goodness knows I have tried to like him over the years; I have tried and tried and tried. Alas, I fear to tell you that I just don't "get" him, i.e., Joyce. My mind is just not fashioned like that. Am I a bad person or an insensitive person because of my lack of enthusiasm over Joyce's work? Well, perhaps we had better not go there, huh!

Many, including his most enthusiastic fans, feel that this work, The Wreck of the Zephyr is not Van Allsburg's best work and feel it is "average" for this author at best. That may be so, but I personally feel that just "average" work from this author is far, far better that the best of the best delivered by quite a number of the leaders in this field; his contemporaries.

Now all that being said....

As this work is written in the first person, we find the author walking one day along the seashore. After leaving a small fishing village he climbs up into the hills and to his surprise finds a broken, rotting sailboat high upon a cliff.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is a very good book to use in teaching character education. It stresses the importance of listening to people who are older and have more experience than you as well as open-mindedness to the thoughts and ideas of others. It also hints to the fact that just because something has never been done a certain way, doesn't mean that it isn't possible. The book stresses to the target audience (up to grade 3) that they will not always know everything.
I was very impressed with the book's introduction. It seemed to jump right into the story. The author used very detailed illustrations. I was especially dazzled by the magnificent colors. The character was portrayed as a risk-taker, arrogant and one who disregarded all warnings. I did not like the fact that the author did not use names to identify the characters. It made it a little more difficult to follow the story line.
There are many things that this book could be used for in a classroom setting. It could be used to teach subliminal messages, foreshadowing, and frame narrator. The possibility that the old man may be or is the boy may need to be pointed out to younger readers or listeners. This book is particularly great for children because it plays on their love for things of the imagination.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Janet King on January 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I chose this wonderful author not only for his story, but equally importantly for his exquisite illustrations. I gave it to my grandson for his second birthday and he is enthralled with it, and frequently chooses it at bedtime for his Grandma Janet to read again and again. I love it as much as he does, and it is a timeless classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on November 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Of course, we love "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg. He stirs together dreams and possibilities and create brand-new stories. "The Wreck of the Zephyr" is not as well-known, but give it a try.

It is HARD to draw a sailboat out of the water, and some illustrations are a bit odd. Still, your children will get this story about a brave and adventuresome boy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SkyHeart on August 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
When you step inside a boat, you are on an adventure off land and into a different world. The life out on the water can bring you to many great places and make great discoveries. Some of them are seeing a large sight of fish in the sea, the great scenery of the outside and finding adventure with many twists and turns. In this particular Chris Van Allsburg book, readers will find the remains of a ship and find out how it was brought that way.

The narrator tells of how while visiting a village and finds the wreck of a sailboat near the sea and sees an old man in there smoking a pipe. The old man then tells him of how the boat was brought to shore and how it was created. His story begins with a boy years ago who was a true natural at sailing a boat in the harbor than anyone else. He even owns his own sailboat which he named the Zephyr. One day, the boy is warned by a fisherman not to sail due to a severe strong wind, but he ignores the man and sets sail. He unfortunately struggles to control the Zephyr and hangs on for his life. After that, he wakes up on shore with his sailboat next to him and goes to find help up a hill. He then sees an shocking sight, which is three sailboats in the air and meets a sailor who might help him find a way back home.

I was truly satisfied once again with the work of. Chris Van Allsburg, thanks to "Zephyr". The story manages to be both mysterious and whimsical like Allsburg's other unforgettable classics, "Jumanji", "Abdul Gasazi" and "The Polar Express". What I like most about his books is the art, and in the book, I loved the illustrations of the boats and the sea. Readers will enjoy this book like all of his other books and will love the art and the mysterious tale of the Zephyr and might have them find their own tale of the sea one day.
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