Sunday, January 24, 2016

MacFarlane, John. Stormstruck!

MacFarlane, John.  Stormstruck!  Holiday House  2015  138p.  $16.95     ISBN 978-0-8234-3394-0    ms  Conflict    E-BN 
Twelve-year-old Sam overhears his father say that it is time to have the family dog put to sleep.  He sneaks out in the early morning and sets sail in a small sailboat with the dog, aiming for an island off the coast of Maine.  The weather does not cooperate.  They are caught in a blinding fog, surrounded by sharks, and a beset by the weather as a huge storm approaches.  Sam summons great courage and ingenuity in his attempt to survive and save his dog as well as the elderly hermit who tries to help him.  He gets some help from a one-eyed cormorant, the hermit, and the excellent advice he has previously received from his elder brother.
This is a short book packed with action and adventure.  At times it feels like “what else can go wrong?”  Sam makes several immature and poor decisions, but with his sailing experience and the teachings he remembers from his brother, he comes through successfully.

The story ends with
Sam and his crew sailing towards home, and the reader does not learn about the consequences Sam will face there.  Middle-school readers, especially boys, will devour this novel of action and survival, making it an excellent title for them.  Survival and action make it a sure winner.

Summary: Twelve-year-old Sam takes his aged dog out in his sailboat so that his parents cannot have the dog put to sleep.  He is caught in a storm, and this becomes a survival story, and an exciting read for middle-school readers.

Survival at sea-Fiction                               --Joan Theal

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