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Author: Hood, Susan
In 1940, a group of British children, their escorts, and some sailors struggle to survive in a lifeboat when the ship taking them to safety in Canada is torpedoed. Includes historical notes.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.00
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 197987
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 75642
Kirkus Reviews (06/15/18)
School Library Journal (+) (05/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/09/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/2018 Gr 4–7—It's 1940, the beginning of the Blitz, and 13-year-old Kenneth Sparks is selected to go to Canada as part of a program to send British children to the safety of the U.K.'s overseas dominions. When his ship is torpedoed, Kenneth, five other boys from the program, and about 40 adults make it aboard Lifeboat 12, one of the only lifeboats remaining after the evening's gale-force winds. Together, they must survive the North Atlantic in a boat with limited supplies. Evocative verse perfectly captures the horror of their situation, the agonizing disappointment of near-rescues, and the tedium of daily life aboard a cramped lifeboat. For example, immediately following the shipwreck, Kenneth spies the red rocking horse that had been in the children's playroom floating in the wreckage: "It rears up from the sea,/the red horse of war,/its mouth open,/silently screaming/at all it sees,/rocking up and down/in the waves,/past the bodies of those/I now know/are already/dead." Adding to the appeal of this work is an exceptionally well-curated and organized array of back matter that includes an author's note, a nonfiction account of the real-life Lifeboat 12, photos, an essay on the author's sources and research technique, and documented source notes for a significant amount of the book's dialogue. VERDICT This stirring novel-in-verse based on a true story is an edge-of-your-seat survival tale, an extensively researched work of historical fiction, and an exemplar of the form.—Eileen Makoff, P.S. 90 Edna Cohen School, NY - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.