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The Tide in the Attic by Aleid Van Rhijn

The Tide in the Attic (1959)

by Aleid Van Rhijn

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Last night I read "The Tide in the Attic", a reread of a book from my youth. It was as good as I remembered, if not better.

The story is based upon a massive flood that overwhelmed the dikes and seawalls of The Netherlands in 1953. While not graphic, the author paints a tense and scary picture of one farming family and their struggle to survive the ever-rising flood waters.

This was a Weekly Reader book from 1962, but it is not a children's book. I read it as a youth of about 10 or so, yet it is also well suited as an adult read. ( )
1 vote fuzzi | Mar 3, 2013 |
A catastrophe hit the Netherlands in the winter of 1953, when three forces collided along the Dutch coast - extremely strong and high tides caused by a total eclipse of the moon, a major and lengthy storm in the North Sea, and a depression south of Iceland with hurricane force winds. This fatal combination caused many dikes to break, flooding over 500,000 acres, killing over 1,700 people.

The Tide in the Attic is a young adult novel which follows a fictional family through the terrors of that night, January 31 to February 1, 1953. Some neighbors saw trouble ahead and evacuated. Most drove their livestock to higher ground. Those who stayed behind with their homes had to continually move higher as the water rose.

In this book, the Wielemaker family, along with their farm hand, a cat, dog and goat, stay put on Sunset Farm, which is on a 'polder' (a low-lying tract of land enclosed by dikes). The men try to make all the buildings secure as the storm grows near. The women gather food, warm clothing and coverings and move those goods higher as the water rises. Through a sleepless night, the family in the attic listen to their buildings disintegrating. As the water gets too deep in the attic, they punch a hole through the roof and spend the rest of the night sitting miserably freezing on the rooftop awaiting rescue. Those rescued were taken to Duivenisse, which remained above the flood; the queen visited there in the days following.

I had no previous knowledge of this event, and found this book to be a good introduction, though not very deeply informative; I found myself searching more online. ( )
  countrylife | Aug 31, 2011 |
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'It's blowing up quite a gale,' said Kees Wielemaker.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"When the dikes broke and the water rose higher and higher, Kees, his parents and little sister, Sjaantje, their maid and hired man moved up and up in the house until the only place they could escape from the rising water was the roof. There the six, with the dog and the cat, crouched for a day and a night until they were rescued by helicopter. There are no heroics in this story of the disastrous 1953 flood in Holland; the writing is simple, realistic reporting." (Horn Book Apr/62 p.174)
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