From Publishers Weekly
With the clever, nearly 13-year-old narrator, Patience, at the helm, this fast-paced debut novel successfully steers through a whaling expedition and mutinous uprising. Though Patience would rather honor her recently deceased Mama's plan that she study mathematics at home on Nantucket, her captain father insists she and her six-year-old brother, Thaddeus (Tad), accompany him on his whaling ship. However, once aboard the Morning Star, her father initially dismisses her interest in navigation until she proves herself in her lessons (she also demonstrates her talents in the galley the author includes two favorite recipes). Frederick spices up the journey with an eclectic cast and crew, including Glum the dour cook, two thugs Patience nicknames Bunion and Toad, and a traitor named Bridgewater whom she dubs Bilgewater. She also weaves into the plot atmospheric details about whaling, the layout of the ship and navigational instruments, and supplements her research with facts about infamous whaling vessels such as the Essex and insider terms that kids will eat up, such as "Nantucket sleigh ride" the whalers' name for the breakneck chase after the prey. Patience also keeps a diary, which in some instances offers a slightly revised rehash of events but, for the most part, complements the text. Though readers will enjoy the whaling adventure, the brave heroine makes this historical adventure most memorable. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-7 After the death of their mother, Patience and her younger brother, Tad, are taken by their captain father aboard his whaling ship for a three-year journey. At first, Patience desperately misses her Nantucket home, but she slowly grows accustomed to life at sea. The 12-year-old isn't thrilled to be confined to menial housekeeping chores, but after she is the first person to spot a whale, her father teaches her to use navigation equipment. When the ship is later threatened with sabotage by mutinous sailors, the girl must put her newfound skills and confidence to the test. Patience is a fully fleshed-out character, with layers of strength, intelligence, courage, and resourcefulness. She is also seeking approval from her father and anxious about her role on the ship and in life. Readers get a good sense of conditions aboard a whaler in 1835 and what daily life entailed. Nautical terms are included, but are not too technical and are woven throughout the text smoothly enough to glean the meaning (a glossary is included). The flow and pace of the novel are breezy enough to hold reader interest. Overall, a delightful journey with an appealing, well-rounded character. -Kristen Oravec, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, OH
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Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.