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by Robert J. Blake
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(picture, young reader, realistic fiction) This book has an element of realistic fiction in that one of the characters, Captain Slocum, had been a real person. Slocum was an explorer who had trouble fitting into mainstream life after all his adventures. Slocum claimed that while he was fighting off pirates and barbarians in the sea, ghost captains aided him in his adventures. The aid came after he reportedly got sick from a meal of plums and cheese. When he returned to the real world, he felt unable to fit in. He took off in his boat and was never seen or heard from again. The main character, a young boy named Justin feels the same way as Slocum, misunderstood and frustrated. He takes off on his boat in anger. When a storm threatens to take him with the sea, he goes on an imaginative dreamlike journey on Captain Slocum's boat. On his journey, he comes to understand that Slocum's boat is construed of many other boats before him and many other captains. He even eats the same meal of plums and cheese. When offered the choice of staying with the spirits or journeying home, he chooses to go home. This book has many interesting elements, however, I do think it might have too many thought provoking concepts for a younger reader to grasp. It would probably be a good read for second grade on up. It is interesting how the sea ,wind and ship are granted human qualities and become characters in the story. It would also be necessary to read the author's note prior to reading the story. I read it after and only then was I able to connect the dots. The story is much more interesting if you have the information in the author's note first. ( )
At home with the wind and the sea, Justin sails his dory across the harbor and suddenly finds himself in the company of the legendary Captain Slocum aboard the Spray.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)464 — Language Spanish [Formerly "Synonyms"; No longer used]
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