Island Boy

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Matthias is the youngest son in a family of 12 children who live with their parents on Tibbetts Island, Maine, in the days before the ``rusticators'' built fancy homes on its shores. When he is old enough to leave home, Matthias sails around the world, but always knows where his heart lies. One day, he is the only Tibbetts on the island, until he marries Hannah, who bears three daughtersthe youngest is Annie. The little family stays on the island; time passes and only Annie and her own young son Matthias live with her father. When old Matthias attempts to make a trip to the mainland during a storm, his dinghy is swamped and he dies. As encompassing as the portrait of a life depicted in the award-winning Miss Rumphius , Cooney's latest work is an ode to simple acts of daily living. The Maine coast is etched in the blues and greens of sky and water, with wide, sweeping seascapes that contrast with the velvety, close-up interiors. Not only one family's tale, this is also a cherishable glimpse of a bygone time. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3 Cooney's ongoing fascination with family ties and elder/younger relationships and her keen awareness of the interdependence of all people and their living styles are newly expressed in Island Boy. She steers her lyrical, lengthy illustrated story with confidence through four generations on a New England coastal island. Pa, Ma, and their 12 children settle the island. When he's ready, young Matthais sails with his uncle's schooner, first as cabin boy and 15 years later, as master. Finally acting on the pull of island memories, Matthais returns and soon marries Hannah, a schoolmistress from Boston. Matthais stays on Tibbetts Island after their three girls grow up and leave, and after Hannah's death. One year, his daughter Annie and her son join Matthais, until Matthais' accidental death. The text is occasionally poetic, with satisfyingly repetitive references to the astrakhan tree and the wild bird, for example, which underscore the book's continuity. Cooney's palette ranges from the clear greens and blues of the island and the water to the browns she employs effectively for domestic interiors and city street scenes. Her humans have individual characteristics. An endpaper map and a well-designed title page introduce this resolutely beautiful account of the interconnectedness of generations and lifestyles. Cooney's flawless transitions between the generations and between third-person points of view always maintain a child's perspective. Island Boy is certain to be a favorite for family sharing, as well as a must for school and public libraries. Teachers will love it; buy extra copies. Ginny Moore Kruse, University of Wisconsin, Madison
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140507560
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/1991
  • Series: Picture Puffin Books Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 500,847
  • Age range: 3 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.75 (h) x 0.10 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2002

    GREATEST BOOK EVER!!

    This book is just as great as Harry Potter. A must read, kinda book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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