Synopses & Reviews
A story of determination and survival from the acclaimed author of FREAK THE MIGHTY. "This thrilling and elegant book ... will hold the interest of even the most stalwart landlubber." -- PW
Twelve-year-old Skiff Beaman's mom just died, and his fisherman dad is too depressed to drag himself off the couch and go to work. So these days Skiff has to take care of everything himself.
But when his dad's boat sinks, Skiff discovers it will cost thousands to buy a new engine. Skiff's lobster traps won't earn him enough, but there are bigger fish in the sea -- bluefin tuna. If he can catch one of those monster fish, Skiff just might save the boat -- and his family.
"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 twelve-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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Rodman Philbrick is the author of six award-winning novels for young readers. His first novel, Freak the Mighty, won the California Young Reader Medal. It was received with great acclaim and has sold more than a million copies. The sequel, Max the Mighty, received starred reviews, and his novel The Fire Pony was named a 1996 Capital Choice. His more recent books for the Blue Sky Press are REM World; The Last Book in the Universe, which was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; and The Young Man and the Sea, which received a starred review from School Library Journal. He and his wife live in Maine and the Florida Keys.