Spray

Spray

by Robert J. Blake
     
 

Justin hates his new home in Martha' Vineyard. The island people laugh at his Maine accent and make fun of him. He's convinced that his only true friends are the wind and the sea. Justin quicky discovers, however, that the sea and wind are capricious friends, as they overtaks his little dinghy, and leave him struggling for his life. Full color.See more details below

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Overview

Justin hates his new home in Martha' Vineyard. The island people laugh at his Maine accent and make fun of him. He's convinced that his only true friends are the wind and the sea. Justin quicky discovers, however, that the sea and wind are capricious friends, as they overtaks his little dinghy, and leave him struggling for his life. Full color.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A boy's dramatic trip on the high seas anchors this picture-book fantasy by the illustrator of Riptide. Justin, a Maine native, has trouble adjusting to his new home on Martha's Vineyard. He takes solace in sailing his small craft away from it all. On one such outing, Justin's daydreams collide with some rough weather and he capsizes, only to be "rescued" by the ghost of a famous old seaman, Joshua Slocum. The gruff and crusty Slocum tosses out scraps of sailing knowledge to first mate Justin-tips that come in handy when Slocum's boat, Spray, must outrun a pirate ship. Blake's event-filled plot and suspenseful pacing treat readers to a thrilling ride. However, the muddy line between imagination and reality may leave some youngsters scratching their heads. Blake's sweeping oil paintings capture the action of unfurling sails and the high speed chase, as well as quieter moments, like charting a course by the stars, all from a variety of ship deck and on-the-water perspectives. Purples, blues and blacks work well to convey the power and expanse of both sea and sky, and tense expressions on all the characters' faces clearly indicate the perilous excitement of Justin's adventure. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Judith Gravitz
Blake's talents are dramatically displayed in Spray, one of his newest picture books. Here, Blake uses the Legend of Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail around the world, to introduce us to the brave character of Justin. Hoping for adventure, young Joshua sets sail from Martha's Vineyard alone. During a storm; the ghost of Joshua Slocum visits Justin forcing him to stand up to the demands of this legend and the turbulent sea. An exciting tale full of ghosts and pirates enlivened by Blake's dynamic oil paintings.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4A boy named Justin, a newcomer to Martha's Vineyard, sets sail in his little boat and ends up capsizing. He is rescued by the infamous Joshua Slocumanother islander, the first man to have sailed around the world alone, in 1898. Spray is the name of Slocum's boat, "...which he rebuilt himself from an old oyster sloop and the timber of other ships..." and it's aboard Spray that Justin eventually proves himself worthy as a sailor. An encounter with a pirate ship adds a nice bit of excitement. An intriguing mix of legend, fantasy, and adventure, the story is told in a somewhat oblique way that will require readers to "fill in the blanks" quite a bit. But on the whole, the ambiguity works in the book's favor, and there's an underlying emotional message that is nicely subtle as well. Blake's oils, as usual, are superb. Light and water are his two main points of interest here, and his treatment of both is excellent. All in all, an unusual and interesting picture book for older children.Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Linda Perkins
Unhappy at his new island home, young Justin sets off alone in his dory. He compares himself with the legendary Joshua Slocum, who had sailed around the world alone in his oyster boat long ago. Lost in his daydream, Justin loses control of his boat. He is rescued by the ghost of Slocum, who demands hard work and guides the boy's sailing as they encounter treacherous seas and a marauding pirate ship. As Justin heads for home, Slocum seems to disappear beneath the waves, and Justin is aware that he's aboard his own boat again. This transition could be frightening for preschool children, as the picture makes it seem as though Slocum is drowning. School-aged children, however, will understand the fantasy. The text has awkward patches but avoids a cliched ending. Blake's handsome oil paintings, like those in "Riptide" (1990), flesh out the brief story and reveal the emotional relationship between the old salt and the young sailor. Despite the picture-book format, this fantasy, with elements of "Captains Courageous", will be an attractive addition to fiction collections.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399227707
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/19/1996
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 11.26(h) x 0.36(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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