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|Cast off : the strange adventures of Petra De Winter and Bram Broen|
Author: Yohalem, Eve
Told in their separate voices, twelve-year-olds Petra, who escaped her abusive father's Amsterdam house in 1663, and Bram, a half-Javanese/half-Dutch boy, relate their adventures at sea after Petra stows away and Bram, son of the ship's carpenter, helps her disguise herself as a boy.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 189088
Common Core Standards
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/15)
School Library Journal (05/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (07/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2015 Becoming a stowaway isn’t Petra DeWinter’s first choice for escaping her father’s abuse, but hiding on a ship bound for the Dutch East Indies seems to be her only option. The problem is that it’s 1663, she is 12, and she is a girl. If discovered, she could be thrown overboard to either drown or be shark food, or she could be sent home as soon as the ship makes land. When Bram Broen, a mestizo boy aboard the ship, stumbles upon Petra, she agrees to help him with his chores in exchange for keeping her presence a secret. Things go well for both until tensions aboard the ship reach fever pitch and the lives of crew members are at stake. The tweens are forced to make tough decisions about loyalty, friendship, and survival. Pirates, illness, mutiny, and storms on the high seas are the backdrop of an adventure that will have readers alternately breathless and cheering. Perfect for those who loved The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1990). - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2015 Gr 5–8—The year is 1663, and motherless 12-year-old Petra escapes her once well-to-do abusive alcoholic father by stowing away on a merchant ship bound for the East Indies from her home in Amsterdam. She is discovered and befriended by Bram, an illegitimate boy of mixed-race heritage whose mother was Javanese and whose father was a Dutch sailor. Petra secretly assists Bram with his daily tasks such as weaving rope, making repairs, and organizing supplies. The boy is hoping that if he works hard, the ship's captain will sign papers that make him a "legal son" and that will allow him to set foot on European land. The story is told in alternating points of view from each of these unique perspectives. Disguised as a boy, Petra eventually boldly exposes herself to the crew, using her sewing skills to assist with an emergency surgery. After being keelhauled as punishment for being onboard, Petra continues to work alongside the ship's doctor. Yohalem's thorough research, authentic nautical jargon, and sailors' dialect brings this riveting tale to life. Likable characters and rich historical detail from daily food and drink to the elaborate hierarchy of the ship's crew to how to use a "butt-broom" make this a believable tale. Adventures abound as Petra and Bram struggle through raging storms, rollicking battles with pirates, and deadly bouts of disease. Plots of mutiny heighten tensions and divide loyalties, and Bram and Petra are both dangerously caught in the middle, fighting for survival and a place to call home. VERDICT Pair this book with Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1990) or Karen Hesse's Stowaway (2001, both Scholastic). A thoroughly satisfying high seas adventure.—Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2015 Twelve-year-old Petra De Winter is accustomed to her father’s abuse, but when he chases her through the Amsterdam streets with an iron poker, she is finally desperate enough to stow away on a Dutch East India Company ship preparing to set sail. She’s discovered by Bram, the half-Dutch, half-Javanese son of the ship’s carpenter; Bram’s biracial status has left him virtually trapped aboard the ship, with no maternal family left in Java and no landing privileges in his father’s homeland. His one hope for freedom is to secure official papers of legitimacy, for which he will need the captain’s recommendation, and to that end he strikes a bargain with Petra. He’ll keep her presence secret if she will help ingratiate him with Captain De Ridder by performing some of Bram’s shipboard tasks. At first, the arrangement works well; Petra, who is used to meticulous management of her father’s household, is happiest when she’s working; Bram is steadily rising in De Ridder’s esteem as a valued crew member. Petra, however, comes down with a serious fever and must see the ship’s doctor, who discovers their ruse. Soon the crew turns against Petra and Bram, superstitiously blaming any misfortune on the presence of a female. Although comparisons of Petra with the spirited heroines of Avi’s The True Adventures of Charlotte Doyle (BCCB 11/90) and Meyer’s Bloody Jack (BCCB 12/02) are inevitable, this is as much Bram’s story as Petra’s, and the setting aboard a seventeenth-century commercial vessel—carrying Dutch East India Company payroll and thus a target for piracy and mutiny—offers opportunity to refresh a well-worn plot. It’s nearly unthinkable that Yohalem will abandon her protagonists on the lonely island on which they’re last seen, so keep your eyes peeled for a sequel. EB - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.