School Library JournalGr 1-3-One of the original life-saving stations along North Carolina's Outer Banks, Pea Island Station had the first all African-American crew. On October 11, 1896, Keeper Richard Etheridge and six surfmen rescued all of the passengers and crew from the E. S. Newman, which had run aground in a storm. It was not until 1996 that the heroes were acknowledged and awarded gold medals from President Clinton and Admiral Kramek of the U.S. Coast Guard. This skillfully written story tells the tale of that fateful night through the eyes of 10-year-old Sam Deal. The text and evocative, full-color watercolor artwork give life to a long-forgotten and exciting sea rescue. The careful research authenticates the events and honors the African Americans, and an afterword explains their historical importance. A page-turner for newly independent readers.- Pamela K. Bomboy, Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsFor one of two new releases in the On My Own History series (The Daring Escape of Ellen Craft, above), Ransom (Mother Teresa, not reviewed, etc.) details a little-known chapter of American history, the first all-African-American life-saving station on the Outer Banks of the North Carolina coast. The time is 1896 and young Sam Deal admires the bravery and strength of the lighthouse keepers and the surfmen who patrol these dangerous shores. The men let Sam take part in some of the drills but tease him about his horse, Ginger, and his young age. The surfmen prefer mules to aid them in their dangerous work. But there comes a time when Ginger and Sam are invaluable to Keeper Etheridge and his crew. Selfless heroism, personal sacrifice, and courage come together during a rescue. This exciting and fast-paced tale will inspire its young readers and the large typeface and illustrations make the story easy to follow. The watercolors are detailed enough to show the characters' emotions and reflect the tale's drama perfectly. The rescue is resolved with the grateful passengers surrounded by their modest crew. It will be hard to forget the sepia-toned photograph of the brave surfmen that accompanies Ransom's informative afterword. (Web sites) (Historical fiction. 6-10)
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