Alone on a Wide Wide Sea

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Michael Morpurgo
Oct 2005
Arthur Hobhouse, an orphan shipped to Australia when he was six years old, has only one link with his past: a small key on a piece of string, given to him by his sister Kitty. He has no idea what it is for and no clear memory of his only living relative, but he treasures it. Arthur dies never knowing if his sister ever really existed, but his daughter Allie sails across the world, all alone in the boat he built for her, to find out.

Two distinctively different but equally compelling narrators tell the story of Arthur and his daughter Allie, whose love of sailing is as passionate as her father�s. Morpurgo masterfully manages the dissimilar voices of each storyteller. Arthur�s tale is an honest reflection on a life of hardship occasionally lightened by love. Allie�s narrative, written partly in e-mails, captures absolutely the tone of a spirited young woman on an incredible journey.

The strong tidy thread of plot belies a myriad of inspirations, deftly woven together. Morpurgo�s story is informed by the harrowing historical accounts of child migrants, Coleridge�s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and the e-mails of Alex Whitworth and Peter Crozier, who circumnavigated the world in their yacht in 2004.

Discussing �what makes a children�s book great?� critic Julia Eccleshare once said �what makes a book so amazing is the feeling that you cannot stop reading it� an urgent book.� Urgent this book certainly is.

I would have read the book in one sitting if it were not for the two sections � as such it demanded two! Be warned: once you start this epic adventure story, you won�t want to stop.

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This page contains a single entry by Dawn Casey published on December 11, 2006 8:34 PM.

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