SAILING HOME by Gloria Rand


A Story of a Childhood at Sea
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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The Rands do a merry job of painting a family’s life at sea on a four-masted sailing bark during the end of the 19th century. They take as their inspiration the true life of the Madsen family on their ocean-faring vessel the John Ena. Ted Rand’s atmospheric watercolors manage to make the colossal ship quite cozy, and Gloria Rand employs the cheery voice of the captain’s youngest daughter to explain the layout of the bark and how they spent their time aboard. Young readers will marvel at the menagerie the children are in charge of, including a kangaroo, a monkey, more yeomanly creatures like ducks and chickens, and an unfortunate pig that falls in the tar being used to patch the deck and gets a burial at sea. They may be less enthralled to learn that a governess taught the children lessons six days a week, mornings and afternoons, “with only an hour off for lunch and no recesses”; the son of the captain plays hooky and gets his ear twisted for his trouble. But climbing in the rigging, playing on the deck, and arriving at the exotic ports of call bestow upon the life many of the qualities of an idyll. Then a brutal Christmas storm puts the precariousness back in the life of the family balancing keeping it all real. All ends happily and an afterword describing the source of the story adds the necessary authenticity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7358-1539-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: NorthSouth
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2001


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