Children's LiteratureHugh, his immediate family, and his cousin, Tom, are spending the summer of 1943 on an island off the coast of South Carolina. The family resides in Charleston the majority of the year. Nevertheless, during the frightful times of World War II and the polio epidemic, the family decides to stay at a house on the beach for the summer. Hugh, the oldest son, who spends his days watching the coastline, becomes suspicious that threatening Germans are coming onto the Carolina shore. This historical fiction book is written in third person objective point of view. This point of view contributes to the dramatic unfolding of the plot and allows for more action and a swifter pace. The novel depicts several true aspects of WWII-era history: lectures and discussions concerning World War II, Prisoners of War, Nazi Germany, polio, and the homeland fears provoked by war abroad all surface in this novel. 2005, Peachtree Publishers, Ages 9 to 12.
School Library JournalGr 4-6-It is 1943 and Hugh and his family escape a polio epidemic by leaving Charleston for the South Carolina seashore for the summer. While there, the 11-year-old considers it his duty to watch for any signs of enemy activity. He becomes suspicious after seeing what he believes to be a periscope off the coast, finding German cigarettes, and stumbling across an unreadable map. When no one believes him, he goes out on his own to discover if the town has been secretly infiltrated. At times, it feels as though the author is compelled to get in as much background information surrounding WWII as possible. This may become a slight distraction for some readers, but the simple, flowing story will still appeal to reluctant readers, and boys, especially, will connect to the protagonist. An author's note gives more specific details about what occurred on American coastlines at this time. An enjoyable historical novel.-Christine McGinty, Newark Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsHugh, age 11, spends his days staring through his binoculars at the water off the coast of South Carolina, looking for enemy activity. It is 1943 and the bombing of Pearl Harbor has put the whole country on alert. What seems like just a way to pass the time during a long hot summer, turns into a dangerous mystery as Hugh spots an object floating just off shore and strange activity at an abandoned beach house. At first fascinated by a war half a world away, Hugh learns the ugly truth when the battle comes to his own doorstep. Tragedy of another kind threatens the family as Hugh's sister Sally comes down with a fever. With whole sections of cities quarantined against a polio epidemic, any illness is cause for alarm. Deftly written, this story manages to braid real history with a fictional mystery, creating a tension that builds from beginning to end. Educational and suspenseful. (Fiction. 8-12)
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'The Coastwatcher,' is a great read, and an enjoyable story to hear. This 2005 novel by Elise Weston is a sad, but slightly suspicious book about World War II. 'The main character 'Hugh,' is such a smart little boy, he saved so many people from the POWS!' I kept thinking to myself as I was reading this book. 'I truly couldn't put it down!' So to those of you who want a quick, but absolute interesting read, go to your nearest library now and check out 'The Coastwatcher,' a novel by Elise Weston.