My Father's Boat

Overview

Three generations of fishermen may be a world apart but they are united by their love of the sea.

The morning mist sits thick on the sea as a Vietnamese- American boy and his father climb onto their fishing boat. During the day, the father begins to teach his son how to haul in the shrimp that are so important to the family's livelihood. As the two work, the father's thoughts drift to his own father, half a world away, who works on a different ...

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Overview

Three generations of fishermen may be a world apart but they are united by their love of the sea.

The morning mist sits thick on the sea as a Vietnamese- American boy and his father climb onto their fishing boat. During the day, the father begins to teach his son how to haul in the shrimp that are so important to the family's livelihood. As the two work, the father's thoughts drift to his own father, half a world away, who works on a different kind of boat in the South China seas.

In lyrical prose, the author explores three generations of fishermen separated by time and place, but united by experience. Ted Rand's gorgeous watercolors capture their love of working on the water.

A Vietnamese-American boy spends a day with his father on his shrimp boat, listening as he describes how his own father fishes on the South China Sea.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this poignant tale, a Vietnamese American boy heads out into the Gulf of Mexico on his father's shrimp boat. He learns how to store shrimp in ice chests and to shake "angry" crabs from the nets. But more important, he hears his father tell stories of his own father, a shrimp fisherman on the South China Sea, and of the war that separated them: "He could not leave the land he loved, and I could not stay." Garland (The Lotus Seed) welds telling details of the sea, sky and fishing life into a powerful narrative engine that draws the reader into the deeper waters of unspoken sentiments. Her skillful, simply worded descriptions ("Over the water men's voices float, deep and hoarse, as if they haven't drunk their morning coffee yet") are ably matched by Rand's (Baby in a Basket) sometimes impressionistic seascapes and realistic portraits. One particularly moving double-page spread shows the boy and his father facing the grandfather, worlds apart yet brought together by thought and memory. A haunting evocation of the aches and solaces of being a father and of being a son. Ages 5-8. (May)
Publishers Weekly
"In this poignant tale, a Vietnamese-American boy heads out into the Gulf of Mexico on his father's shrimp boat and hears his father tell stories of his own father, and of the war that separated them," wrote PW. "Garland's skillful, simply worded descriptions are ably matched by Rand's sometimes impressionistic seascapes and realistic portraits." Ages 5-8. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Wendy Pollock-Gilson
Exquisite acrylic and watercolor paintings illustrate the lyrical text of a Vietnamese father taking his American born son on the boy's first overnight fishing trip. The father who left South Vietnam during the war is continuing the fishing traditions he learned from his father. During the outing, the son gains an understanding of his father, fishing, and what family means. This story of a loving father and son relationship could be an award winner. Also, it is perfect for a multicultural unit in a classroom, and a gentle bedtime story for anyone who loves the ocean, fishing, and family.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4--A young boy and his father arrive at the dock before dawn to board their shrimp boat and head out to sea. During the day, the man reflects on his boyhood in Vietnam where his father is a fisherman. He promises the child that he will someday take him to meet his grandfather and the three of them will fish together in the South China Sea. The strong bond between father and son is gently revealed as they share their thoughts and hard work. The text flows effortlessly. The spectacular double-page watercolor and acrylic spreads are filled with the colors and moods of the ocean, from the fog-bound pier to the dazzling sunrise on the open water, to the daylight-filled scenes on the boat. Each page is a rich and varied feast for the eyes from vast horizons to close-up moments. Dolphins, jellyfish, gulls, and pelicans dance across the pages. As the boy describes his day, his cultural heritage is brought to life through words and pictures. Like Garland's The Lotus Seed (Harcourt, 1993), this is a thoughtful and loving family story.--Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA
Kirkus Reviews
From Garland (The Last Rainmaker, 1997, etc.), a treasure for readers to open again and again, for the beauty of the lyrical prose, and the powerful, bittersweet story of family love. Before sunrise, a Vietnamese immigrant and his son set out on a fishing boat to catch shrimp off the Texas coast. Evoked are the sounds and scent of the sea, the hard work of the fishermen, and the loving relationships between generations. The boy notices that "it feels lonely, out on the sea, but my father says that is part of a fisherman's lifeþbeing alone with the ocean and sky and creatures living below, and alone with your memories." When they stop to eat cold rice and sip hot tea, the father sings songs he learned in Vietnam, and tells his son about his own fisherman father: "He taught me all I am teaching you. But when the war came to our little village on the other side of the world, he could not leave the land he loved, and I could not stay." On the road home, the tired boy sleeps, dreaming "that they are together: my grandfather, father, and Iþout on the lonely sea in my father's beautiful boat." Acrylic and watercolor illustrations extend the mood of the story, from the fog-enshrouded first spread of sunrise to full daylight the following day, and endpapers of white gulls whirling against the magenta sky. Beautiful and compelling. (Picture book. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590478687
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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