The Boy Who Held Back the Sea

Overview

Jan had never done anything more heroic than shout for the guard because he'd imagined he'd seen a sea serpent. But when Jan discovered water trickling through a desolate stretch of the dike that protected his low-lying village, he knew he had to act fast.

By blocking a leaking hole in the dike, a young boy saves his town from destruction.

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Overview

Jan had never done anything more heroic than shout for the guard because he'd imagined he'd seen a sea serpent. But when Jan discovered water trickling through a desolate stretch of the dike that protected his low-lying village, he knew he had to act fast.

By blocking a leaking hole in the dike, a young boy saves his town from destruction.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This retelling of the traditional Dutch folktale is coupled with Locker's masterful oil paintings, which recall well-known works such as Rembrandt's ``Night Watch'' and several Vermeers. A little boy, Pieter, is sent to his room because he has misbehaved. So his grandmother tells him of another bad boy, Jan, who held back the sea. Pieter serves merely as the framework for the account of the legend, which distances readers from the action. The scenery is magnificentluminous skies, light-infused landscapes, a tumultuous seacreating a chiaroscuro effect that recalls the Dutch masters. However, Jan is merely a detail in the paintings. The real thrust of the taleJan's mischief, his fear at the discovery of the leak, his determination, his misery through the night, the suffering and then pride of his parentsis lost in the paintings; the text is overshadowed by the grand scale of the artwork. All ages. (September)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3 Grandmother tells Pieter, who has been sent to his room, the story of The Boy Who Held Back the Sea. Hort's adaptation of a story that appears in Mary Mapes Dodge's Hans Brinker is significantly longer with numerous changes and embellishments. More complex characters have been created, removing the story from the realm of fable and placing it into fiction. Jan is depicted as a troublemaker who tells tales about sea serpents to the dike's watchmen, plays hookey from church, and throws a rock through a school windowa complete opposite from the sunny-haired boy of gentle disposition who reads to a blind man in Hans Brinker. Both, however, become heroes when they observe a hole in the dike and plug it with a finger. Locker's arresting oil paintings, with their dramatic clouds, towering trees, and natural diffused lighting are suggestive of the 17th-Century Dutch landscape paintings made famous by Jacob van Ruisdael. The posed figures and the meticulously depicted objects in the opening and closing scenes are particularly reminiscent of Vermeer. Locker's depiction of nature overpowering humanity is especially significant to the story and to the Dutch people who have spent centuries battling the sea. Karen K. Radtke, Milwaukee Public Lib .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803704060
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/30/1987
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 31
  • Age range: 7 years
  • Product dimensions: 8.86 (w) x 10.86 (h) x 0.35 (d)

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