Abigail Takes the Wheel (I Can Read Chapter Book Series)

Overview

Collision in the Harbor! Abigail and her brother, Tom, travel to school every day aboard their father's freight boat, the Neptune. One day, two ships collide in the Narrows, and Abigail's father goes to their aid—leaving Abigail to take the Neptune's wheel. Can she and Tom steer the freight boat through the crowded and dangerous waters of New York Harbor alone?

When the first mate of the freight boat Neptune falls ill, it is up to Abigail, the captain's daughter, to ...

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Overview

Collision in the Harbor! Abigail and her brother, Tom, travel to school every day aboard their father's freight boat, the Neptune. One day, two ships collide in the Narrows, and Abigail's father goes to their aid—leaving Abigail to take the Neptune's wheel. Can she and Tom steer the freight boat through the crowded and dangerous waters of New York Harbor alone?

When the first mate of the freight boat Neptune falls ill, it is up to Abigail, the captain's daughter, to steer the ship up the Hudson River from New Jersey to New York City.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susan Hepler
In the 1880s, young Abigail takes the helm of her father's paddle-wheeler freight boat in an emergency and guides the boat safely into the New York harbor, no mean task since it is also towing a huge sailing ship. A candid author's note states that Avi found this story in a children's magazine from the time, and while there's no indication of whether it's based on a true story, he guesses it is. Still, it's a story of courage and unflappable competence. Bolognese's pencil, ink and watercolor illustrations render the action with just enough period detail to keep young readers interested but not overwhelmed. These help readers visualize the backing and forthing of the ship as it struggles to avoid other boats in the harbor and a crash with the pier as well. A good addition to the historical fiction shelf for new readers and a companion to others in the series. "I Can Read Chapter Book" series.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-3-An easy-reader set in the 1880s. Abigail and Tom have made the 20-mile trip from Old Port, NJ, to New York City on their family's freight boat hundreds of times. Things take a surprising turn, though, when their father takes the helm of a damaged sailing ship they are towing into harbor and Abigail must take charge of the Neptune when the first mate falls ill. She navigates the freighter safely through to its final destination where she is lauded by the crews of both vessels. An author's note states that the tale is based on a story that appeared in St. Nicholas magazine in 1881. The setting is established largely through the illustrations, from the characters' suspenders, aprons, and lace-up boots to the engine being stoked. Muted colors and a predominance of earth tones add to the atmosphere. Although the dialogue and third-person narrative have no particular period flavor, the boat signals and maneuvers are vividly described. The child-saves-the-day story line will appeal to youngsters whose daydreams tend to feature themselves as the heroic protagonists. With minimal characterization, this is a carefully illustrated, plot-driven adventure for transitional readers.-Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the I Can Read Chapter Book series, Avi returns to some surefire ingredients—a girl and the boat she eventually pilots—though for a far younger audience than that for The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Every day, Abigail Bates, brother Tom, and their father, Captain Bates, leave Old Port, in New Jersey, in their paddle wheel freight boat and home, the Neptune. On board is a load of fresh vegetables intended for buyers in New York City, 20 miles up the Hudson. One morning, as they leave Old Port, two sailing ships collide; Captain Bates offers to tow one of them to New York, but under harbor law, he has to take her wheel. He leaves first mate Mr. Oliver to pilot the Neptune, but Mr. Oliver becomes ill and hands the wheel over to Abigail. Scared but game, Abigail navigates the two ships through the busy river traffic, barely escaping another collision and ingeniously maneuvering the stricken sailing ship to safe berth. Predictably, for her courage and skill, she is made an honorary captain. Abigail is a spunky heroine cast in a sturdy story; the suspense will hold readers just ready for chapter books. The surprise in the competent illustrations, which conjure the late 19th-century setting, is the insertion of some unexpected diversity in the casting of the first mate. (Fiction. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064442817
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/30/2000
  • Series: I Can Read Book 4 Series
  • Edition description: 1ST HARPER
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 8 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.47 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Avi
Avi
Known for his unconventional vision and quirky creative style, Avi has penned scores of children's books that young readers devour with a passion. Twice awarded the Newbery Honor medal for his work, this prolific Pied Piper won the 2003 Newbery Medal for Crispin: The Cross of Lead -- an action-packed adventure set in 14th-century England.

Biography

Born in Manhattan in 1937, Avi Wortis grew up in Brooklyn in a family of artists and writers. Despite his bright and inquisitive nature, he did poorly in school. After several academic failures, he was diagnosed with a writing impairment called dysgraphia which caused him to reverse letters and misspell words. The few writing and spelling skills he possessed he had gleaned from his favorite hobby, reading -- a pursuit enthusiastically encouraged in his household.

Following junior high school, Avi was assigned to a wonderful tutor whose taught him basic skills and encouraged in him a real desire to write. "Perhaps it was stubbornness," he recalled in an essay appearing on the Educational Paperback Association's website, "but from that time forward I wanted to write in some way, some form. It was the one thing everybody said I could not do."

Avi finally learned to write, and well! He attended Antioch University, graduated from the University of Wisconsin, and received a master's degree in library science from Columbia in 1964. He worked as a librarian for the New York Public Library's theater collection and for Trenton State College, and taught college courses in children's literature, while continuing to write -- mostly plays -- on the side. In the 1970s, with two sons of his own, he began to craft stories for children. "[My] two boys loved to hear stories," he recalled. "We played a game in which they would give me a subject ('a glass of water') and I would have to make up the story right then. Out of that game came my first children's book, Things That Sometimes Happen." A collection of "Very Short Stories for Little Listeners," Avi's winning debut received very positive reviews. "Sounding very much like the stories that children would make up themselves," raved Kirkus Reviews, "these are daffy and nonsensical, starting and ending in odd places and going sort of nowhere in the middle. The result, however, is inevitably a sly grin."

Avi has gone on to write dozens of books for kids of all ages. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1991) and Nothing but the Truth (1992) were named Newbery Honor Books, and in 2003, he won the prestigious Newbery Medal for his 14th-century adventure tale, Crispin: The Cross of Lead. His books range from mysteries and adventure stories to historical novels and coming-of-age tales; and although there is often a strong moral core to his work, he leavens his message with appealing warmth and humor. Perhaps his philosophy is summed up best in this quote from his author profile on Scholastic's website: "I want my readers to feel, to think, sometimes to laugh. But most of all I want them to enjoy a good read."

Good To Know

In a Q&A with his publisher, Avi named Robert Louis Stevenson as one of his greatest inspirations, noting that "he epitomizes a kind of storytelling that I dearly love and still read because it is true, it has validity, and beyond all, it is an adventure."

When he's not writing, Avi enjoys photography as one of his favorite hobbies.

Avi got his unique nickname from his twin sister, Emily..

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    1. Also Known As:
      Avi Wortis (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 23, 1937
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964
    2. Website:

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