Good-Bye for Today: The Diary of a Young Girl at Sea

Good-Bye for Today: The Diary of a Young Girl at Sea

by Peter Geiger Roop, Thomas Allen, Connie Roop
     
 
Laura doesn't want to keep a journal, but her mother says she must. After all, writing about the day-to-day life aboard her father's ship, the Monticello, will preserve her memories of a most interesting and at times terrifying, experience.

The Monticello is a whaling ship, and Laura's father has decided to bring Laura, her mother, and her little

Overview

Laura doesn't want to keep a journal, but her mother says she must. After all, writing about the day-to-day life aboard her father's ship, the Monticello, will preserve her memories of a most interesting and at times terrifying, experience.

The Monticello is a whaling ship, and Laura's father has decided to bring Laura, her mother, and her little brother, William, along on this voyage, for as soon as they fill the ship's hold with whale oil in the Arctic they shall return to their home in New Bedford -- a home that Laura, who was born in the Sandwich Islands, has never seen.

But the long trip to the Arctic is a perilous one indeed. There are terrible storms, increasing cold, the thrill (and pity) of the whale hunt, the loss of crew members, and most of all the threat of ice, which can surround a ship and squeeze it into splinters.

Based on real journals from children who lived aboard nineteenth-century whaling ships, Peter and Connie Roop's story introduces young readers to one plucky girl and her family's unusual but fascinating lifestyle.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
In the 21st century, the life of a whaling family is difficult to imagine. Contrasted with the modern conveniences of today, this educational tale of life aboard the Monticello provides wonderful insight into a 19th century way of life. Though the romanticism of the sea looms, it's hard not to recognize and even appreciate today's easier lifestyles. Laura, a nine-year-old girl out at sea with her family, pens her voyage to the Arctic in her diary. This literary style nicely captures life aboard the whaling ship by giving Laura's perspectives on this journey. As Laura was encouraged to keep a diary for educational purposes, readers too can delight in the nautical terms that Laura learns on her trip. The author's writing truly brings the reader on board, introducing the challenges and perils that are faced at sea--chasing whales, battling storms and ice brigades, and living simply and in close quarters. Using this book in class for literary and historical reasons provides a great segue to discuss and encourage in-class or at-home journaling, a practice that lets students comfortably describe events and express their feelings. Regardless of the use, the book gives a glimpse into 19th century living of whaling families. 2000, Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, Ages 7 to 10, $16.00. Reviewer: Melinda Tierney—Children's Literature
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-The Roops capture the voice of a nine-year-old seafarer aboard her father's ship, the Monticello, a New England whaler en route from Japan to the Bering Sea in 1871. An author's note explains that the book is based on the real journal of Laura Jernegan as well as on the experiences of Mary Williams, another child who sailed aboard a whaling ship with her family. Accounts of the stranding of most of the fleet and reproductions of pages of the diary that inspired this book are available in a number of older nonfiction titles, but, with the current popularity of historical-fiction-as-diary, students will be more likely drawn to this version. Allen's colored-pencil and oil-wash spreads depict Laura's family's cabin, the gigantic prey, and the immobile fleet trapped in the September Bering ice. The brief text and the sepia-ink diary illustrations make this an attractive and interesting read. Thoughtful, older readers may even be inspired to pursue the primary sources. Unfortunately, the book cries for a map of the Monticello's route.-Sue Sherif, Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Library, AK Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A child's experience on a whaling ship in 1851 is brought to life in this fictional account based on two real whaling families' journals and diaries. Nine-year-old Laura and her younger brother William sail with their mother and sea-captain father on an expedition to the Arctic whaling grounds. They won't return for seven months or until the ship is filled with 2,600 barrels of whale oil. Laura writes in her diary each day, sharing with readers the routines of eating, sleeping, and learning, as well as the adventures and the hardships of living on a small whaling ship. Excitement mounts as the ship enters arctic waters. Whales are hunted and processed. When unseasonably cold weather sets, the boat is caught in the ice and the captain is forced to abandon ship before reaching his goal. Laura and family travel in a longboat until they are rescued at sea, and there, Laura ends her diary. Allen's (Good-Bye, Charles Lindbergh, 1998, etc.) sepia ink sketches set alongside the text illustrate many objects that may be unfamiliar to the modern reader. These include a chamber pot, sailor's knots, and a harpoon. Two-page color pencil-and-oil wash illustrations interspersed with the text give the larger context of the whaling scene. These luminous images sharpen the reader's understanding of a bygone life. Additional information and historical background are included in an authors' note, and a glossary is placed at the front of the book for easy reference. A good read with an interesting historical background. (Fiction. 8-10). . . Shipton, Paul THE MIGHTY SKINK HarperCollins (192 pp.) May 31, 2000

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689822223
Publisher:
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
05/01/2000
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
7.34(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.43(d)
Lexile:
490L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

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