THE YOUNG MAN AND THE SEA

Rodman Philbrick, Author . Scholastic/Blue Sky $16.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-439-36829-2

Philbrick's (Freak the Mighty ) evocative tale may tip the hat to Hemingway's classic through its clever title, as well as its clean, direct prose and minimal dialogue, but it has an ending more palatable to a young audience. The 12-year-old narrator wrestles with his own Great Fish and with a devastating loss. Skiff Beaman's beloved mother has recently passed away as the story opens, sending his fisherman father into an alcoholic ennui. While Skiff's father spends day and night on the couch, watching TV and drinking himself to sleep, the family's boat, Mary Rose (named for his mother), sinks at the dock. Skiff, who sees the boat as a symbol of his family, works feverishly to bail it out and mend the damages. But the engine repairs seem impossibly expensive. Young Skiff comes up with a plan to make money by catching lobster—until his nemesis sabotages the traps. Then he decides to follow his father's trade and harpoon a bluefin tuna. How the plucky hero takes to the sea in his small boat, determined to catch a monster fish and save both his father's boat and his pride makes for a suspenseful read, and culminates in a 70-plus–page action sequence that inspires awe for both man and nature. This thrilling and elegant book overflows with detail about life at sea, but will hold the interest of even the most stalwart landlubber. Ages 9-up. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 02/16/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Glued - 192 pages - 978-0-7569-4899-3
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-0-7393-6712-4
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-439-85630-0
Prebound-Glued - 192 pages - 978-0-606-33810-3
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-439-36830-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4000-9460-8
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