Stowaway

Karen Hesse, Author, Robert Andrew Parker, Illustrator
Karen Hesse, Author, Robert Andrew Parker, Illustrator Margaret K. McElderry Books $17.95 (328p) ISBN 978-0-689-83987-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-6169-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-8759-0
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4391-3180-0
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-689-83989-4
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-24256-1
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-689-87120-7
Hardcover - 376 pages - 978-0-7862-4789-9
Prebound-Glued - 315 pages - 978-0-7569-1096-9
Hardcover - 294 pages - 978-0-689-86067-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-58253-9
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-58252-2
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Sparkling with humor, poignancy and adventure, Newbery Medal-winner Hesse's (Out of the Dust) historical novel, told in diary form, was inspired by a real boy who stowed away aboard Captain James Cook's ship Endeavour on its 1768 voyage. The author bases the story on what little is known about 11-year-old Nicholas Young (he could read and write, for instance, and was made an official crew member in April 1769 when the ship reached Tahiti) and spins an imaginative tale firmly anchored in fact. The brief diary entries adhere to the ship's actual itinerary and detail Nick's adventures (and misadventures), among them his ongoing run-ins with a vindictive midshipman (also documented), the excitement and danger of rounding Cape Horn and the captain's disappointment in the view of Venus's transit across the sun (one of the main reasons for the voyage). Nick grows into young manhood irrevocably shaped by the three-year voyage, teaching an illiterate shipmate to read, befriending a Tahitian boy and witnessing cannibalism as well as a share of tragedy while helping to nurse a crew ravaged by accident and disease. His lively observations (on seasickness: ""I can say now that Gentlemen heave the contents of their stomach same as eleven-year-old stowaways"") keep the action sailing smoothly forward, while Hesse's impeccable research buttresses the narrative with a wealth of detail. A sprinkling of Parker's pen-and-ink illustrations adds an additional layer of texture, while an author's note and extensive glossary round out this compelling volume. Ages 10-14. (Nov.)
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