"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ghost Ship

Ghost Ship
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Illustrator: Wendell Minor
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN-10: 1416935142
ISBN-13: 978-1416935148

Prolific and first rate author Mary Higgins Clark has turned her pen to a children’s picture book and the result is fantastic.

Ghost Ship is the story of Thomas, a 9-year old boy who is visiting his grandmother on Cape Cod. His grandmother lives in a 300-year old house above the beach with steps leading down to the shore. The house was built by Andrew Hallet, a great sea captain and an ancestor of Thomas. His picture hangs on the wall in the house and Thomas often wonders about him.

One day after a storm, Thomas wanders down to the beach and finds an ancient buckle in the sand. As he dusts it off and wonders about it, a ghost of a boy appears and speaks to him. That ghost is Silas, a cabin boy to the very Andrew Hallet Thomas has so often wondered about. Silas speaks, using thee and thou, which I thought was a very realistic touch given the fact that he was alive in 1690. He tells Thomas of life in his time and how hard it was. He speaks with pride of Andrew Hallet and of how he and the other boys of his town banded together to set a huge fire that eventually saved Hallet’s boat from thieves.

Thomas has many questions for Silas as well and Silas is eager to tell his story. I thought the book was lovely and interesting. It brings back a lost time and is so vividly told that you can almost smell the sea air.

The vivid and colorful illustrations by Wendell Minor are amazing and make me think of those great, sweeping oil paintings of seascapes, sailing ships and storms. Each page is like visiting a museum. The book is simply beautiful.

I think Ghost Ship will be a favorite of any young child that loves the sea. Adults too will find it highly readable and a visual delight.

Book description from the publisher:

"I am so pleased to have written my first children's book and to have my dear friend Wendell Minor illustrate it. I thought it would be a daunting project, but with six grandchildren and eleven stepgrandchildren, I've been telling stories to children for a long time."

-- Mary Higgins Clark

Thomas loved his summer visits to his grandmother's on Cape Cod. He spent hours wondering about the sailing ships of the past and imagining their stories. He dreamed of being on a sailing ship himself. One afternoon after a night of terrible thunderstorms, Thomas finds, deep in the sand, a weathered, old-fashioned belt buckle. When he picks it up, a boy his own age, Silas Rich, who was a cabin boy on a ship called the Monomoy that sailed almost 250 years ago, appears. Suddenly the world of sailing ships is very near as Silas tells his tale.

Beloved and bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark tells a story of mystery and adventure that will transport readers to a time and place beyond their imaginings in her first book for children. Wendell Minor's inspired paintings make a time long ago very real.

Text copyright © 2007 by Mary Higgins Clark
Illustrations copyright © 2007 by Wendell Minor

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