A great-aunt's childhood diary opens a window to the past in this introspective, deeply felt story by Morpurgo (The War of Jenkins' Ear, p. 1284, etc.). The year 1907 is a hard one for the Perrymans: 14-year-old Laura's beloved twin brother Billy runs away to sea; the only milk cows die; and great storms devastate the islands. Starvation is a real threat, but when Laura finds a stranded leatherback, she hides it until she can help it back to the sea. Salvation comes in the form of a shipwreck: From a cargo vessel, the islanders salvage live cattle, lumber, goods, and Billy, home to stay. Place's small, frequent watercolors feature windswept littoral scenes and lonely figures, echoing the text's focus on the Perrymans' grief and the isolation of the island. Laura takes an active role in the rescue; her courage lights up a small, tidy drama.