Great Illustrated Books

Young Man and the Sea

Young Man and the Sea

Blue Sky Press, 2004
Pages : 192
Suggested Ages: 10-14
ISBN: 9780439368292

“Before I tell you about the biggest fish in the sea and how it tried to kill me and then ended up saving my life, first you got to know about the leaky boat, ‘cause it all began right there.” Now that is one great first sentence and it pulls you right into one glorious book. On the last day of school, 12-year-old Skiff Beaman comes home to find dad's fishing boat, the Mary Rose, sunk at the dock, with just the top of the cabin showing. Dad's no help. Since Skiff's mom died, Dad spends his time lying on the TV couch, sucking on his beer and staring at the cobwebs on the ceiling. Skiff’s nemesis, that miserable rotten rich kid, Tyler Croft, taunts him: "Good riddance. That wasn't a boat—it was an outhouse." Undaunted, Skiff raises the boat himself, and when he learns it will take $5,000 dollars to fix the engine, he gets to work setting lobster traps. There's a big fish in this story—a bluefin tuna that Skiff goes after. This is a realistic, gritty, heartstopping, testosterone-filled survival story that will make your readers look twice at the next tunafish sandwich they eat.

At home, you can make the obvious literary connections with Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself taking your kids on a fishing trip to the ocean, or at least to a lake near you.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Creech, Sharon. The Wanderer. HarperCollins, 2000. ISBN-13: 9780064410328

Franklin, Christine L. Lone Wolf. Candlewick, 1997. ISBN-13: 9780553804553

Hesse, Karen. The Music of Dolphins. Scholastic, 1996. ISBN-13: 9780590897983

Hill, Kirkpatrick. Winter Camp. McElderry, 1993. ISBN-13: 9780448443928

Lindquist, Susan Hart. Wander. Delacorte, 1998. ISBN-13: 9780440414438

Morpurgo, Michael. Kensuke's Kingdom. Scholastic, 2003. ISBN-13: 9780439591812

O'Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphins. Houghton Mifflin, 1960. ISBN-13: 9780440439882

Paulsen, Gary. The Haymeadow. Delacorte, 1992. ISBN-13: 9780440409236

Philbrook, Rodman. Phreak the Mighty. Blue Sky/Scholastic, 1993. ISBN-13: 9780439286060

Spinelli, Jerry. Crash. Knopf, 1996. ISBN-13: 9780679885504

Spinelli, Jerry. Wringer. HarperCollins, 1997. ISBN-13: 9780064405782

Taylor, Theodore. The Cay. Delacorte, 1987. ISBN-13: 9780440416630

Critics have said

Filled with suspense and pathos, middle school students may be inspired to read Hemingway's classic as well.
Larry Cooperman, School Library Journal

A moveable feast for fans of Gary Paulsen, or nautical adventures in general.
John Peters, Booklist