Boy of the Deeps

Overview


James is following in his father's footsteps, and today for the first time he will descend deep into the caves below the Atlantic Ocean to begin to learn the coal miner's work.
The story follows him down into the pit, where the pit ponies live out their lives in the dark. He and his father work on a vein of coal and are just relaxing for lunch when the ceiling begins to collapse. His father is trapped by a falling beam but James manages to free him. Together they manage to dig ...
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Overview


James is following in his father's footsteps, and today for the first time he will descend deep into the caves below the Atlantic Ocean to begin to learn the coal miner's work.
The story follows him down into the pit, where the pit ponies live out their lives in the dark. He and his father work on a vein of coal and are just relaxing for lunch when the ceiling begins to collapse. His father is trapped by a falling beam but James manages to free him. Together they manage to dig their way out and join their companions. But everybody knows that tomorrow James, his father, and all the miners will be back down in the mine despite the dangers, for it is the only way they can earn their living.
Beautifully illustrated in an Edward Hopper style, Boy of the Deeps pays homage to the lives of these brave miners and brings the brave lives of miners to children in a vivid concrete way.

James, the son of a coal miner, goes with his father for the first time to work in the mines of Cape Breton.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wallace Chin Chiang and the Dragons Dance takes his inspiration from his grandfathers experience in the coal mines for this suspenseful picture book set in Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. On Jamess first day working alongside his miner father, his mother cautions him to take care, since the deeps is dangerous. A cage-like elevator drops down 1000 feet through darkness that was blacker than a ravens eye, taking the miners far below the Atlantic. Wallaces taut yet descriptive narrative appeals to the senses as it draws readers into this underground setting, where water drips down from the low ceiling and James listens to the layers of rock shifting and creaking. At lunchtime, along with his bread and cod, the boy finds a small present from his mother: three wild daisies, a striking contrast to the mines bleakness. But suddenly, the mines ceiling collapses on top of James and his father, who diligently work away at the rocks until they cut a narrow tunnel to safety. Wallace expertly manipulates light and shadow in his effectively textured, acrylic-on-canvas paintings, which offer a lifelike depiction of this timeless subterranean world. Ages 8-11. Apr.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Canadian author and illustrator Wallace comes from a family of miners. He has chosen the coal mines of Nova Scotia and a piece of his grandfather's life to retell in this story of young James's first day in the pit. Evocative acrylic on canvas paintings follow the lad's descent into the darkened world of black dust, pit ponies, and hard labor. Danger is always near, but Wallace paints the camaraderie and simple beauties as well. This will make a fine companion piece to Bartoletti's Growing up in Coal Country.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-A picture book about a boy's first day as a miner, set in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, at the turn of the century. Wallace's spare text and evocative acrylic paintings detail James's introduction to the underground world. The author makes it clear that this is a hard life-after father and son survive a cave-in, the book concludes, "They headed toward the steel cage, the light, and home. Tomorrow they would go down into the deeps again, for they were miners and that was their job." Like Susan Campbell Bartoletti's Growing Up in Coal Country Houghton, 1996 and Judith Hendershot's In Coal Country Knopf, 1987; o.p. this is a powerful picture of children and men involved in dangerous work.-Kathleen Whalin, Greenwich Country Day School, CT Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Wallace tells a story about his grandfather, who worked in the mines. It is a touching tale about the son of a coal miner, who goes with his father for the first time to work underground. "You'll be a good miner, boy," says the father. "You have coal in your blood same as me." His mother tells him, "Take care, my son. You know the deeps is dangerous." Father and son file into a steel cage and are lowered into the darkness with all the other miners. It is exhausting work, and the boy falls asleep during lunch. While they are working in the afternoon, the ceiling in the mine collapses, knocking them to the ground, and giving them a scare as they dig themselves out. "They headed toward the steel cage, the light, and home. Tomorrow they would go down into the deeps again, for they were miners and that was their job." Wallace's simple and direct language gives the story power; the textured and shadowy illustrations, as still as photographs, convey what it was like to grow up long ago, when a boy went to do a man's work, and toiled willingly alongside his Da. (Picture book. 6-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780888996602
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 4/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,451,334
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.62 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.16 (d)

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